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Full text of "The church and other bells of Kincardineshire : being a complete account of all the bells in the county, their history, uses, and ornaments; with notices of their founders, and an article on the more interesting belfries, to which is prefixed a short general survey of bells in Scotland"

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Church otZ Bells 










F. C. E E L E S. 


Reprinted, wuh Additions, fkqm thk " Abkrdken Kcclbsioi.ogicai. Society's Transactions." 


^011 sunt loquclat ncc scnnonts 5cb 
aubiuutur boces corum. 



Additions and Corrections. 


1. On Scotch Bells gexekallv, . , i 

2. On Kincardinesiiirk Bixls, 13 

Full Description of every Bell in Kincardineshire, . .22 

(In alphabetical order of Parishes). 


1. General, 40 

2. Kincardineshire 41 



2. List of Books on the ijells of v.\rious English Counties, . 44 

3. Explanation of Technical Terms, 45 

4. Letter.s, &c., relating to the St. Cyrus Bells, . -45 

5. Irish and English Foundries, 48 


1. Ornaments and Lettering used by Ostens of Rotterdam; 

FRo.M Banchory Ternan .\nd Kinneff. 
Lo\v Country Ornament from ist of St. James's, Stone- 
haven, ........... Frontispiece. 

2. Belfries at and Nigg. 
Mediaeval Bell .\t Str.achan. 

Ornaments, Foundry Mark, &c., used isv Gely of Old Auer- 

DEEN, , . facing p. 14. 

3. Ornaments and Lettering used by the later Old Aberdeen 

Founders ; from Skene, Nigg, and Dunnottar, . facing p. 16 

4. Bell Turrets at Arbuthnott, facing p. 22 

5. Belfries at Kinneff, Garvoc, and Inverbervie (Old Ch.), facing p. 40 

6. Typical English Bell and Hangings, .... facing p. 45 

7. Modern English Peal hung for Change-Ringing, facing p. 48 

74 8975 



In the following pages an attempt has been made to do for a county in Scotland 
what has been done for several in England with such successful results. The work 
has been carried out on the lines favoured by English Ecclesiologists, only such 
modifications being introduced as experience suggested or as the altered circum- 
stances of the case appeared to render necessary. For example, while English 
books on bells are usually restricted to a consideration of those of the Parish 
Churches, it has in the present instance been deemed advisable to notice not only 
the bells of other places of worship, but also such as occur in municipal and private 
possession. Cases like Dundee and Crail showed from the first that in Scotland 
town bells would always have to receive notice. But the work of investigation had 
not gone far before the writer found that the c ire urn. stances of the country made it 
very hard to know where to draw the line in matters ecclesiastical, with the result 
that he thought it better to include all bells rather than run the risk of excluding 
any that were of value. 

As so little is known about Scotch bells, an introduction has been prefixed 
which treats of the matter at some length, the object being to bring into a readily 
accessible form all the information at present obtainable on the subject, besides the 
results of the author's own observations. It is hoped by this means to furnish a 
foundation for future work, and also to stimulate interest in an at present obscure 
subject by showing from examples how many attractions it possesses. 

The parish boundaries as they existed at the Revolution have as far as possible 
been followed, and the parishes have been arranged in alphabetical order. In cases 
where they are not coterminous with the counties, the rule is followed that overlapping 
portions be included in the county in which the Parish Church is situated. 

All ancient sites are specified whether they have bells or not ; so are all Epis- 
copal and Roman Catholic Churches ; other places of worship are only mentioned 
when they have bells. 

In the description of each bell, unless stated, the bell has canons, and 
the inscription is round the shoulder. The single letter refers to the approximate 
place of the note in the musical scale (Soc. of Arts Pitch), the size is the diameter at 
the mouth, and the times given are the times of ringing ; "s" prefixed denoting a 
service to follow. Inscriptions have been rendered as nearly as possible in facsimile ; 
consequently any irregularities that may appear are not printers' errors as might at 
first be supposed, but have been advisedly reproduced from the bells them.selves. 

The appendix contains an article on the more interesting belfries in the county ; 
also a series of brief historical notes on the English founders whose work is to be 
met with in Scotland. One firm of founders has been kind enough to lend two 
blocks showing a typical bell as hung for change ringing and a third 
showing a peal of eight with several of the bells " up." These, together with a few 
explanatory remarks also find a place in the appendix. 


It onl)' remains to express thanks to all who liave in anj' \va\' assisted the 
author in his work. These are far too numerous to mention individually, and he is 
reluctantly compelled to deny himself this satisfaction. lie can .simply express 
his warm appreciation of the kindness and consideration he has received. 

This cannot, however, free him from the obliijation of acknowledging his special 
indebtedness to the President and other members of the Aberdeen Ecclcsiological 
Society, who have interested themselves so much in his behalf The Rev. U. G. 
Barron, Minister of Dunnottar, and Mr. J. A. Henderson, Cults, have rendered 
valuable assistance. To the Very Rev. The Dean of Brechin, and to Mr. De 
Lessert, Aberdeen, he is likewise much indebted. Nor ought he to omit the names 
of Mr. A. H. Cocks, of Gt. Marlow, Bucks., and Mr. W. H. J. Weale. Librarian at 
South Kensington. 

Messrs. Gillet & Johnston of Croydon, Mears & Stainbank of London, J. 
Murphy of Dublin, J. Taylor & Co. of Loughborough, J. Warner & Sons of 
Spitalfields, J. C. Wil.son & Co. of Glasgow, Vickers Sons & Co. of Sheffield, 
besides other founders, have all been most obliging in affording every information 
in their power. 

F. C. E. 


January, iS^y. 


Page 3, line 25. The Strachan bell should be included among the Later Mediaevals. 

„ 5, note 2, line 7. For " Suffolk " read " Cambridgeshire." 

„ 5, note 3, line 2. For " 1837 " read " 1873." 

„ 6, line 19. For " Burgherhuys " read " Burgerhuys." 

,, 7, line 24. For " prove" read "proves." 

„ 8, line 10. For " evidently was "read " in a few cases possibly a Low 

Mass, there being " 

„ 8, line 15. Delete " Here being" and read " we find the bell rung at 9 for Matins." 

„ 8, line 23. For "theirsel" read "theirsels." 

„ 16, line 43. For " had " read " have." 

„ 19, note 2. For "inscripion" read "inscription." 

„ 20. Table of Times of Ringing, under "Banchory Devenic," add "8 a.m. (discon- 

„ 21. Table of Times of Ringing of Town Bells, add " Bervie (discontiued), 6 a.m,, 9 a.m., 
2 p.m., 9 p.m. exc. Suns." 

„ 22. Arbuthnott, S. Mary's Chapel, Peattie : add "Site doubtful." 

„ 26, line 4. Delete "6 p.m." 

„ 29. Inscription on Ccwie Sanctus Bell should be in letters like that of Banchory 
Devenic Free Church, p. 24. 

„ 32. S. John the Baptist, Drumlithie; since inscription was printed, the bell has been 
recast with the following inscription : — 



. t 



One of the lesser results of the Catholic revival in England has been the increasing 
recognition of the importance of Church History, Antiquities, and Architecture — 
in a word — of Ecclesiology. And one branch of Ecclesiology which has received 
special attention is the study of Church Bells, their history, uses, and artistic merits.* 

The origin of bells is involved in obscurity, and as much has been written on 
the subject, there is no necessity to enlarge upon it here. 

The introduction of Christianity into these islands almost certainl}- took 
place at the beginning of the Christian era, and, coming directly from the East, 
probably brought bells with it. Thus no musical instrument can be said to have 
been so long or so closely identified with the service of the Church as the bell. 

The Celtic and other early bells have been dealt with elsewhere ; so has the 
development of the present form of bell. We may therefore turn at once to the 
part of the subject that concerns us, namely, bells since the early middle ages. 
Much thought and care have at various times been given to the casting, tuning, and 
ornamentation of bells. Bell-founding is an art in the truest sense of the term, and 
has been recognised as such, at least in England, where the antiquarian and artistic 
value of bells has met with due appreciation. Many Ecclesiologists have made 
them a special study, and have given us exhaustive accounts of those in several 
of the English counties. Besides its historical and educational use, such work has 
often been the means of averting the destruction of valuable property, and of per- 
petuating the memory of many specimens of bell-founding, which for one reason or 
another have been destroyed. ^ 

Surely it is time that .something of the kind were done in Scotland, which, 
despite all adverse influences, still contains many bells of surpassing interest. 

Before proceeding to speak more particularly of the Kincardineshire bells, it 
will be well to give a brief account of what little is known of bells in Scotland 
generally. And first it will be necessary to consider the position of Scotland in 
regard to methods of ringing, as this will often give a reason for the kind of work 
we meet with. 

In the early Middle ages — not only in Scotland but also in England and on 
the Continent — the richer churches each possessed several bells, obtained usually at 
various times, and often without regard to their respective sizes or to the relations 

' No especial name has as yet been given lo this study. Campanology denotes exclusively the science of 
change-ringing, while what is discussed here is the comparative study of bells. 

- For a list of works on the bells of the various English counties, see Appendix. 


between their notes. The great bell was often dedicated to the patron saint of the 
church, and the smaller bells to the other saints who were commemorated in the 
church below ; each was used separately for the services at the corresponding altar, 
while all were used for High Mass and on great occasions. A desire to ring the 
bells in a musical way made it.self felt very early. On the Continent this took the 
form of adding a carillon to the already existing collection of heavy bells, while 
in England it showed itself in a tendency to make the heavy bells themselves 
form a part of the diatonic scale, and therefore suitable for ringing in succession. 
Shortly before the Reformation the carillon developed very rapidly on the Continent, 
and it reached its perfection in the Seventeenth century. It consisted of a large 
number of small light bells, fixed " dead," and sounded by hammers worked by 
wires from an arrangement of levers, something like the keys of an organ.' 

In England the carillon was unknown, and each bell there was rung 
by a rope attached either to a lever at right angles to the stock, or to a quarter 
or half wheel This means that they were not " rung " at all, in the strictest sense, 
but were only chimed. There seem grounds for supposing that this was done in 
changing rotation, though only at the caprice of the ringers. In the Seventeenth 
century real change ringing came into vogue, and took the ringing world by storm ; 
after the Restoration, indeed, it soon became a popular amusement. Bells were 
increased in size and weight, e\'ery church aiming at the possession of at least five 
or six, though we find that for this purpose the number never exceeded twelve. 
Whole wheels, heavier cages, and the necessary appliances for setting^ the bells 
followed as a matter of course, and the English ring soon took the form in which 
we know it now. This change ringing, with its elaborate hangings and thick bells, 
was as unknown out of England as the carillon was in England, although at a later 
period it was to some extent introduced into Ireland. 

It was, perhaps, due to the close political relations which existed between 
France and Scotland, that the latter has chiefly followed the Continental usage in 
preference to the English. That this was the case admits of no question, as the 
following considerations will show. We have part of a carillon left at Perth, and one 
cast at Edinburgh at the end of the Seventeenth century. Wherever there are more 
bells than one, except in absolutely modern rings from England, they are merely 
heterogeneous collections of the Continental type. Such are those at Perth, Forfar, 
and Montrose ; at the last-mentioned place, indeed, and also at S. Andrews, Stirling 
and Arbroath, they still chime the bells with a simultaneous jangle after the true 
Continental fashion. In some, however, the bells form part of the diatonic 
scale, and are chimed in succession, as English bells were before the introduction of 
change-ringing. It may be noted that the latter .system has been recently 
introduced in several places — as at S. Paul's (Ep. Ch.), Dundee, in 1872, and S. 
Mary's Cathedral (Ep.), Edinburgh, in 1879. 

Such being the case, it is not surprising, when we turn to the bells themselves, 

' The collection of heavy liells remained in addition to the carillon, and has never been superseded on the 

- To set a bell is to turn it mouth upwards and allow it to rest in that position by the stay coming in contact 
with the slider and preventing its falling right over. 


to find that the majority of the old ones were imported from the Low Countries, 
and that all those of native casting were mere copies of Low Country models : in 
fact, it is towards the end of the last century before we find the English model of 
bell in use at all. 

In England, most of the reall)- ancient rings have been recast during the last 
two hundred years, so as to fit them for change ringing. These heavy rings arc of 
great interest, and for loudness and brilliancy of tone, as well as for accuracy of tune, 
are absolutely unsurpassed. For external artistic merit they cannot be compared 
to the mediaeval bells, and certainly not to the Continental. On their part, these 
Low Country bells, being only used for chiming, never reached the great strength 
of the English, but they are nearly ahvays ornamented with a wonderful profusion 
of delicate borders and friezes, and in many cases with excellently modelled medal- 
lions and groups of figures, flowers, and fruit. 

Low Country bells arc almost entirely absent from England. Dr. Raven, men- 
tioning a stray Flemish bell in Suffolk,' says "Flemish bells are so rare," and devotes 
two plates and several pages to matters connected with it, and the late Mr. J. C. L. 
Stahlschmidt, one of the greatest authorities on the subject who has ever lived, gives 
more space to a diminutive Dutch bell at Frindsbury^ than to many a large peal. 
On the other hand, such bells are fairly common in this country, and herein, to a 
great extent, lies the peculiar interest of investigating Scotch bells. 

Bells in Scotland may be divided into three distinct classes — Scotch, Low 
Country, and English, according to their origin. The first of these may, for 
convenience, be further sub-divided into the three following groups — Mediaeval, 
Renaissance, and Modern. 

The Mediaeval probably includes, among the earlier work, the bell at Strachan 
and the ist at Kirkwall Cathedral ; and certainly the " minister's bell" of S. Giles', 
Elgin, by Thomas de Dunbar, 1402.' 

Among later Mediaeval work, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th (before recasting) of Kirk- 
wall Cathedral were given by Bp. Maxwell, and cast by Robert Borthwyk in Edin- 
burgh Castle, 1528. These have black letter inscriptions, capital and small, with the 
arms of Maxwell and a figure of S. Magnus ; they are 33 and 37 in. in diameter* 
A bell mentioned by Lukis*as the 1st of Lochmaben: the bell of Fowlis Easter, 1508; 
and that of Kirkmaiden, 1533, by one John Morison, are also later Mediaevals. 

After the Mediaeval period, bell-founding everywhere entered upon a new era. 
In England, stimulated by the introduction of change-ringing, it was soon to blaze 
forth afresh, after having been damped down by the Reformation. On the Con- 
tinent, the growth of the carillon ard the fresh art of the Renaissance afforded op- 
portunities of a new and varied character. It was only in Scotland that nothing 
was done, for here the Reformation put a complete stop to all kinds of work con- 
nected with ecclesiastical art, and in the subsequent wanton destruction and gross 
neglect, bells naturall)' suffered greatl)'. 

> Church Pelh of Suffolk, pp. 74-75. 
!" Church Bells of Kent, p. 88, &c. 
'Young's History of Elgin. 
* Lukis' Aaounl of Church Bells, p. 134. 


As an instance of the results of this we see, according to Dr. J. Robertson, 
Scottish Abbeys and Cathedrals, p. loi, that " Archbishop Abbot, whose Puritanism 
made him regard things in Scotland with no unfriendly eye, related to Sir Henry 
Spelman that, in 1605, he found only one bell' in Edinburgh, and that not only had the 
country churches no bells, but when, at Dunbar, he asked how they chanced to be 
without such a commodity, ' the minister, a crumpt unseemly person, thinking the 
question as strange, replied " It was one of the Reformed- Churches ! " ' " 

We have an instance of wanton spoliation of Church property at the time of 
the reformation, apart from religious motives, in the Burgh Archives of Dundee, 
whence we learn that in 1560 the Baillies ordained "James Young to exhibit and 
produce before them the bell of Kynspindie, whilk was arrestit in his house to the 
effect they may do justice thereanent." 

He failed in this and was required " to deliver to Archibald Dowglass of Kyn- 
spindie his bell or pay him the sum of twenty pounds." 

Some months later they ordained " William Carmichell to deliver to the 
parochiners of Lyff their bell, taken by him frae certain persons wha wrangously 
intromittit therewith.^" 

But towards the end of the Sixteenth century we find a very great improvement 
in such matters, and bells began to be obtained in large numbers from the Low 
Countries. These bells will be dealt with later on, as we must finst glance at the 
native work. A few bells of the early part of the 17th century are to be met with ; 
such are Glcncairn, 1611, and also the works of Robert Hog, who had a foundry at 
Stirling, c. 1632-1639, and cast among others the bell of Killin. In the latter part of 
the century Scotch bells became more common, and we have foundries in working at 
Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The first named was carried on by John Meikle, who in 
1698-9 was ordered by the Town Council's Committee to cast a carillon of 23 for S. 
Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh. The famous " Kate Kennedy^" at the College Church, 
S. Andrews, was recast by him in 1686, and has ornaments and foundry marks copied 
from those of various Dutch founders. He seems to have been succeeded by 
Robert Maxwell, who cast one of the Peebles bells in 17 14, the 2nd and 3rd of 
the old ring at S. Giles' Edinburgh, in 1728, and many others, among them a 
small bell at the College Church, St. Andrews, with rough irregular lettering, and 
one of the same Dutch borders that Meikle used. A William Ormiston of Edin- 
burgh, who cast a bell for Carmyllie in 1748, was probably his successor, and seems 
to have been followed by John Milne, who cast the bell of Kilbirnie in 1753.° 

' There were at least two. 

^ We may perh.ips be excused for quoting the following passage from an old sermon of the period, which 
certainly is not wanting in force : — " The pretended Reformation of the Christian religion, which has lately 
come up from Hell, has not felt satisfied with its mau rage against the rites of the Catholic Church, unless it 
could also fasten its cursed hand and tooth upon the instruments (Bells), by which she is roused and called forth 
to piety and Divine worship, and could cast forth the venom of its cursing upon inanimate implements." 

' Old Dundee, Alex. Maxwell, 1891, p. 164. 

* So called because dedicated to S. Catharine, and given by Bishop Kennedy in 1460. It is a tub-shaped 
(31I in.) bell with a short waist and flat crown and is now cracked and disused. 

° Parish Church of Kilbirnie, J. S. Dobie, p. 25. 


The Aberdeen foundry was carried on by Patrick Kilgour in the Seventeenth 
century, and by Albert Gely, John Mowat, and Andrew Lawson in the Eighteenth. 
It will be mentioned at greater length later on. 

This brings us to the modern period, when we begin to find bad imitations of 
Eighteenth century English work. Hitherto all the bells we have considered have 
been on the Low Country model, and have possessed at least some attempts at artistic 
ornamentation. But now we find all pretentions to artistic merit gone, and neither 
interest nor redeeming feature. Such bells only demand notice because an account 
of the bells of any county would otherwise be incomplete. The founders now 
become too numerous and insignificant to mention, as almost any brassfounder 
undertook work of the kind.' 

Quite recently a number of bells have been cast by John C. Wilson & Co. of 
Gorbals Brass foundry, Glasgow, who first began to cast bells in 1838, when the 
foundry belonged to David Burges, who originated it. Among their more important 
bells are Townhead (54^ in., ^^ cwt, 1866), Dunfermline Corporation Buildings 
(55 in-, 33 cwt, 1879, Eb), Pollockshields (48 in., 25 cwt., 1884, P.), and the great bell 
of Glasgow Cathedral (48 in. 1896). This firm have also cast several sets of clock 
bells and a few peals, among them Lamlash 8, Wemyss Bay 8, Coatbridge 
Wesleyan Chapel 6. 

The Low Country bells now claim our attention : they are the most important 
we have to do with, and, as already indicated, are almost unknown in England.- 

Among Mediaevals, we have the 17th at Perth, a fine (33^ in.) Fourteenth century 
bell, with a very long waist and most delicate Lombardic lettering i^ the 15th at 
Perth, a small (2ii in.) Fifteenth century bell with black letter inscription, and, 
until recast by Mears in 1836, the great bell of S. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, by 
John and William Hoerken, 1460. 

In the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries we find Low Country Bells becoming 
more numerous. Most of those of the Sixteenth century are by one or other of the 
Waghevens family. Henri Waghevens, who died in 1483, came of a very famous race 
of Mechlin founders, who did a great amount of work. There were several of this 
name; Peter and George, sons of Henry, 1483-1520; Simon, who seems to have been 

' Several of these will, however, be noticed in connection with Kincardineshire. 

' The following seem to be all the foreign bells .as yet found in England : — 

Baschurch, Salop., 1447, by Jan Van Venloe (? from Valle Crucis). Church Bells of Suffolk, p. 74. 
Bitterly, Salop., the 3rd, with inscription in old French. English Bells aiui Bell Lore, T. North, 
p. 40. Bromeswell, Suflf., the 1st, 1530, by Cornells W;ighevens. Church Bells 0/ Suffolk, p. 74. 
Eglingham, Northumberland, 1489 (by a Waghevens?) said to be from Berwick. Bells of the 
Church, EUacombe. Frindsbury, Kent, the Sanctus bell, 1670, by Gerrit Schimmel of 
Deventer. Church Bells 0/ Xent. Lavenheath, Suff., by Gerhard Horner of Stockholm. Church 
Bells of Suffolk. Norwich, S. Giles' Hospital, by Peter Van den Gheyn (?) Church Bells of 
Norfolk, p. 85. Tottenham, Middlesex, 1663, by "I.H." History of Church of Allhallcnus. 
Tottenham, Geo. Waight, 1876. Vowcliurch, Herts, (till recently) by J. Van Venloe. Church 
Bells of Suffolk, p. 74, etc. Whitton, Suff., 1441, by Jan Van Venloe (?) Church Bells of 
Suffolk, p. 74, etc. Nicolaston, Glamorgan, 1518 (by G. \V.Tghevens?) Church Bells of 
Suffolk, p. 74. 

' Other Fourteenth century bells were one formerly at Dunning by John of Rotterdam, 1:^20 (Dunning ; 
J. Wilson, 1837, pp. 12, 13), and the three given by Provost Leith to S. Nicholas, Aberdeen, 1351. 


a younger brother, 1491-1516'; Medard, 1524-1557; Cornel is, whose earliest date 
is 1530; Jacop, whose earliest date is 1542 and latest 1554,* in addition to a later 
Jacop, c. 1 590. 

There were also a Giles VVaghevens, c. 15 14-15 15, and a Jacques Waghevens, c. 


The great (53 in.) bell of Perth, highly ornamented, with an elaborate founder's 
mark and a projecting statue, is a fine example of the work of Peter Waghevens, 
1506. The old bell at Kettins, 1519, the ist at Dunning, 1526, which has two good 
medallions, and part of a carillon at Perth, 1526, are the work of George (Jooris) 
Waghevens, who also cast the 3rd, 4th and 5th of the vast peal formerly at King's 
College, Aberdeen, and also a 57 in. bell formerly at Perth. Jacop Waghevens cast 
the clock bell formerly at Glasgow Cathedral in 1554. 

The Van den Gheyns vv-ere a long line of Louvain and Mechlin founders, and 
cast many famous bells for the Low Country churches. Their successors are said 
to be Andre Louis J. Van Aerschodt and Severin Van Aerschodt, sons of a daughter 
of Matthias Van den Gheyn (1721-1785), the famous organist and carillioneur. 
An early i6th century bell at Culsalmond, is by Peter Van den Gheyn. Those of 
Inverarity and Crail, both 1614, are by a later Peter Van den Gheyn. 

We find the work of Jan Burgherhuys at Melrose, 1608, Fyvie, 1609, and else- 
where. That of Michael Burgerhuys his successor ranges from 1617 at Lundie to 
1647 at Smailholm. It includes the bell of Rutherglen, 1635, with many others, not 
least of which was the old "S. Lawrence" of S. Nicholas, Aberdeen, recast by him 
in 1634. This splendid bell was unfortunately broken in pieces on the occasion of 
the destruction of the spire by fire in 1874, and its fragments were sold as old metal 
and now lie in a cellar. Michael's successor, a younger Jan Burgerhuys, cast the 
bells of Famell in 1662, Panbride in 1664, and Liff in 1696. These were Middel- 
burg founders, and they used a Phoenix for their foundry mark. 

Turning to the Rotterdam founders we have Cornells Ouderogge^ and Peter 
Ostens in the Seventeenth century, and John Spicht in the Eighteenth, with perhaps 
others. The 4th at Kirkwall Cathedral was recast in 1682 by an Amsterdam founder, 
Cladius Fremy.'' Another Amsterdam bell, by Gerhard Koster, 1663, was formerly at 
Calton Church, Glasgow. Peter lansen cast the bells of Midmar, 1642, Rathen, 1643, 
and Auchterless, 1644 ; Andreas Ehem cast that of Rescobie, 1620, and one " I. M." 
that of Oathlaw in 1618 ; the Strichen bell 1633, and one formerly at Dunfermline 
Tolbooth, 16545 are by Henrick Ter Horst of Deventer, and are of importance be- 

' .According to Dr. Raven, Church Bells of Suffolk, but there is a bell at S. Jacques, Bruges, by a .Simon 
Waghevens, 1525 (W. 11. J. Weale ; Bruges et ses Environs, 1864). 

2 According to Dr. Raven, l)ut we find bells by a Jacop Waghevens in 1560 and I56r. 

= Cast 2nd at Forfar, 1637 ; Navar, 1655 (now in Arbroath Museum) ; 3rd at Stirling, 1657. His foundry 
mark seems to have been a sort of star, and he used very thick letters in high relief. Ostens was probably his 

* Lukis' Account of Church Bells, p. 134. 

' Annals of Dunfermline ; Ebenezer Henderson, p. 328. 


cause Stahlschmidt,' speaking of a small bell by Gerrit Schimmel of Deventer, 1670, 
says, " I do not think a specimen from a Deventer foundry has been found before" 

At Cowan's Hospital, Stirling, there is a bell by Adam Danckvvart, 2665, 
showing part of the same frieze that Dr. Raven found on the Bromeswell bell. 

There is a bell at Monificth by Jacop Ser, 1554, inscribed in French, and one 
at Comrie, 1583, inscribed in German. 

Although not from the Low Countries the great bell of Forfar must be noticed 
here. This very remarkable bell is one mass of inscription and ornament, and was 
cast in 1656 by Gert Meyer of Stockholm. It is 45 in. in diameter, and has large 
ornamental borders round both soundbow and shoulder, and a beautiful figure of 
S. Michael and the Dragon, besides other decorations. 

In recent times we have a carillon of 43 in 1886 for S. Nicholas, Aberdeen, 
by Severin Van Aerschodt of Louvaine, who also cast a peal of 9 for Lower Beeding, 
Sussex, in 1887. 

Before turning to the English bells we must notice a bell at Blairs College by 
J. Murphy of Dublin, 1859, who in the same year recast the 3rd of the famous peal 
of Limerick Cathedral. 

English bells form a very large subject, as there is a considerable amount of 
information on which to draw. We will of course confine ourselves merely to such 
as are found in Scotland. 

We are doubtful if among them there are any Mediaevals, though specimens 
of this class may yet be forthcoming in the Southern counties. The character of 
the inscriptions^ on the ist and 2nd of the ring formerly at King's College, Aber- 
deen, almost prove them to have been English, but they are now destroyed. The 
bell at the West Church, Greenock, 1677, seems to be English, and so does that 
at Fetteresso, 1736, but English bells of any kind are not common until quite the 
end of the iSth century, when the old Scotch founders had all died out. Thence- 
forward they become more numerous, and since the beginning of the present century, 
with the exception of those by Wilson of Glasgow, almost every bell of any size 
has been brought from England. 

Most of these have come from the Whitechapel Foundry, which had almost a 
monopoly until the middle of the present century, when other foundries came into 
prominence. Of these last, that of J. Taylor & Co. of Loughborough seems to have 
done most work for Scotland. 

Some of these English Foundries — notably that at Whitechapel — have long 
and interesting histories, and much might be said of the bells they have cast. But 
as the foundries whose work we are concerned with in Scotland have been well and 
carefully dealt with by English writers, it is unnecessary to do more than 
mention them here. 

Methods of ringing have been dealt with above, but something must be said 
here about customs — that is, about ringing at peculiar times and on special occa- 
sions. Many of the ancient customs such as yet remain in England have in 

1 Church Belli of Kent, p. 8S. 

- 1st— Trinilale sacra fiat haec campana beata. 2nd— Protege precor pia quos convoco Sancta Maria. 


Scotland either died out or else been prohibited, but still there are several peculiar 
uses which are undoubted survivals, and demand special attention. 

These are the times of the ringing of church bells (apart from immediately 
before services), and to a less extent, the times of ringing of town bells. 

In many parishes the practice still remains of ringing the bell at 8 A.M. or some 
other early hour, long before the time of the present service, and the hours at which 
this is done often give a clue to the times of the Mediaeval services, being in point 
of fact the ringing for them. 

In .some churches the bell is rung at 8 and lo, the service being later. Here 
the first is probably the Matins bell, and the .second the Mass bell— evidently a 
Low Mass, it being perhaps probable that there was also a High Mass later. places where the bell is rung at lO only are usually of this class, the 8 
o'clock ringing having been discontinued. 

In other churches, apparently those which arc more out of the way, or of less 
importance, we find the bell rung at g. Here there was probably only one Mass, 
the 9 o'clock bell being for Matins. In these cases the Mass would have been about 
II, hence there is no lo o'clock bell, and the Mass bell does not remain separate 
from the modern service bell, where that service is not very late ; where, however, 
it is late, the Mass bell does remain, being usually rung at ii, and occasionally at 


At the present day, various reasons, more or less utilitarian, have been given 
for these old service bells. The country people say that the 8 o'clock bell is to 
"let ye ken it's the Sabbath," or to " gar the hill-folk mak' theirsel ready or the 
Kirk win in." 

This is very often called the " rousing bell," and the later bell the "dressing 
bell," or the " get ready." A more important reason sometimes given for these 
later ringings is that they are the survival of tiic ringing-in to a Scripture reading, 
which in Presbyterian times was introduced before the regular service to prevent 
the "profanation of the Sabbath" by any chance conversation that might take place 
between those who had arrived at the Kirk too early. This was extremely 
common, but it seems more likely that it helped to perpetuate the older custom 
than that it was the cause of the introduction of a new one. We must also remem- 
ber that there was no Scripture reading to urge as the reason for the 8 o'clock bell. 

That these earlj' ringings then, are the survivals of the ancient services seems 
to admit of no question, but it is uncertain which services belonged to each, and the 
suggestions put forth above can be but tentative, seeing the extremely limited 
amount of information there is on the subject. A great difficulty is caused by the 
various modifications that have been made in recent times for the sake of con- 
venience, and to suit the late risers of more modern days.' It is highly probable, 

' Perth Session Records, July 10, 1560. " The session, after the appointment of the order of communication 
ordains that the first bell should be rung at four in the morning : the second at half five o'clock ; the third at 
five. The second ministration, the first bell to be rung at half nine o'clock ; the second at nine ; the third at 
half ten." July 6, 1703. " The session appoints that the church doors be opened at seven of the clock in the 
morning and not till then ; as also that the first bell be rung at eight of the clock the second at half nine and 
the third at nine." At Elgin in the early part of the Seventeenth century the bell was rung at 3.30 a.m. on 
ICommunionlSundays, the service being at 5 or 6. 


however, that were the times of ringing throughout the country carefully collected 
and arranged, it would be quite possible to reconstruct a fairly correct time table 
of Mediaeval services, with the help of such documentary and other evidence as 
may be forthcoming. 

A complete table of all the times of ringing in Kincardineshire will be given 
later on, but here we may mention the following from elsewhere : — 


... 9 

1 1 

. S. 12 


... 8 


. S. 12 

Midmar, ... 

... 8 


. s. 11.30 

S. Andrews, 

... 8-^ 

... 9 

..S. Il2 

Montrose, ... 

... 8- 

... s, 

, IO-' 


S. 2 


lO . 

. . S. 11 




. s. 11.30 


. s. 1 1.30 .. 

. s. 5.30 

„ (Com. Si 


... 9 

. . . S. II 

. .s. 5. 30 


... 8 

...S. II' ., 

.. s 2' 

.. s. 6.30 


... 8 


... 8 

Kilmore, . . . 

... 8i 


Ratho, 8 

Braemar, 8 

Before the Reformation there were 5 bells at Dundee on which "six score and 
nine straiks " were given three times a day, to call to " matins, mess, and evensang." 

Nothing has as yet been said about Evensong bells. These are very rare, and 
in country churches afternoon and evening services seem of modern introduction. 
In cases where the bell is rung twice beforehand, it seems to be a mere copy of what 
is done in the morning. 

As might be expected from the long sway of Presbyterianism, the passing 
bell^ is no longer rung, nor is there any ringing at burials beyond tolling the bell 
for a few minutes as the procession approaches the churchyard. In some parishes 
this is said to be rapidly dying out, being merely done at the request of very old 
people. Within living memory it was the custom to ring a hand bell in the pro- 
cession,^ but this has now completely died out. In 1643 the Town Council of 
Aberdeen forbade the use of bells at funerals as superstitious ; its zeal, however, at 
that moment was probably stimulated by the near presence of a Covenanting Army. 

Church bells are often rung on week days : in most cases this is for some 
purely utilitarian purpose, which now-a-days obscures any other significance the 

' All simiiltaneoubly. - Tenor. "s." = " for service at." 

- In the Burgh Recorls of Dundee " it is statute that an ony person cause the gret bells to l>e rung for either 
saul mass or ilirige, he sail pay forty pence to the Kirk werk." 

"The bell is decernit till ring friely for all neighbours and comlmrgesses at ony neighbours decease without 
ony contribution, except twelve pence to the sacristan ringer of the bell alanerly." The fee was sometimes 
dispensed with as a inark of respect. Old Dundee, Alex. Maxwell, p. 42. 

' Elgin Session Records, 23rd June, 1591. Qualsumevir persoun being diseasit within this burgh be seiknes 
departs this lyif on adverteising the minister, redar, or ane elder in their absens -sail want the convey the 
faythfuU to their buriall . . . and forbids the belnian to knell the hand bell for thame or any other bell." 



practice may once have had. Ringing as a fire alarm, on Sacramental F'ast- 
days, and for Presbytery meetings,^ &c., sufficiently explains itself, but some notice 
must be given to the ringing at different hours through the day. As this is now 
invariably a secular use, we shall consider it more fully when we have spoken of 
the connection of Church bells in Scotland with secular authority. 

In the larger towns the steeples of the parish churches, together with their 
contents, are often the property of the municipality, and are considered to be 
"Town Steeples." In such cases the church is allowed the use of one or more of the 
bells on Sundays, but the town authorities have the control and maintenance of 
them, and use them as town bells during the week. The reason for this is not far 
to seek. In former times we again and again find a town acquiring a lien on the 
bells in exchange for helping to build the steeple, or undertaking to keep it in order. 

The following extract from the Burgh Record.s- of Peebles exhibits a good 
instance of this : — 

"1778, December 29. The Council, in conjunction with the heritors, agree to 
the proposition of building a new church, . . . The town to be at the expense 
of building the steeple and furnishing it with a clock and bells, for which it is to be 
the property of the burgh." 

At Aberdeen the steeple, clock, and bells of the parish church of S. Nicholas 
are the property of the burgh authorities, who assume complete control over them. 
The same is the case at Dundee, Stirling, Forfar, and Montrose. 

Hence we often find church bells used as town bells on week days for such 
purposes as ringing at meal hours, &c. In many cases, however, the town has a 
bell of its own hanging in a steeple quite unconnected with any church, sometimes 
standing by itself, and sometimes forming part of Town House or Tolbooth. In 
addition to that of S. Nicholas Church, Aberdeen has steeples on both Town House 
and Tolbooth, each with their bells. 

Besides various meal hours through the day, 5 or 6 in the morning, and 8, 9 or 
10 at night are the usual times for the ringing of town bells or their substitutes. 
The early morning ringing seems to be simply to call work people, but the evening 
bell may well be the survival of the Curfew.-* In the latter part of the 17th century at 
Elgin both the great bell of St. Giles' and the Tolbooth bell were rung at 4 a.m. 
The Tolbooth bell at Aberdeen is now rung at 5 a.m. and 8 p.m., and also for 
meetings of the Town Council. The 10 p.m. bell remains in many places, among 
which are St. Andrews, Perth, Dundee, Montrose and Forfar. 

Ellon supplies a good instance of the way in which the adaptation of an old 
custom to modern needs has obscured the purpose of its introduction. There the 

' Perth Session Records, Oct. 6, 1578. "The session ordains James .Sym uptaker of the casualities that 
intervenes in the kirk, to buy a tow to the litte skellit bell — the which bell shall only be rung to the affairs of 
the kirk, also to the examinations, or to the assemblies." 

" Chambers' History of Peebles, p. 267. 

' In Perth Burgh Records, 1657, is "An Act requiring obedience to the hell for putting out fires." Also 
in the Session Records, Feb. 6, 1586-7. "The session ordains Nicol Balmain to ring the Curfew and work- 
men's Bell in the morning, and evening, the space of ane quarter of an hour, at the times appointed, viz., four 
hours in the morning and eight at even." 


church bell is run^- at 8 p.m. in .summer and 7 p.m. in winter, and this seems to be 
the remnant of the curfew. Now, however, it is looked upon as the signal for 
shutting the shops, and to such an extent, that since Wednesday became the 
"shopkeepers' half-holiday" it has been rung on tliat day at 2 p.m. 
A few other uses will be noticed later. 

Before closing this general sketch it will not be out of place to refer to several 
abuses connected with bells which are to be found in many places. 

Too often country beadles indulge in what they are pleased to call "getting the 
double on the bell," i.e., swinging it to and fro like a factory bell. It is impossible 
to say too much against this practice, which has again and again resulted in the 
destruction of bells never meant to bear such usage. Very near akin to this 
is the all prevalent mania for wheels where the bells are too small for them, and 
also that other mania for a huge counterbalance, which in the case of large bells 
prevents their being properly used, and in that of small ones is, like the wheel, 
merely a contrivance for " getting the double " with a little less e.xertion on the part 
of the ringer. Where a large bell has been obtained from England, the local people 
often see fit to improve (?) the fittings of a good founder by the introduction of some 
questionable addition of their own. 

In most of the smaller churches where the bells are hung in out of the way 
places, means of access are usually wanting, and so they cannot be properly kept 
in order. It is a common thing to have to send several miles before ladders of 
sufficient length can be found to reach them, and it is still more common to find the 
hangings in such an insecure condition as to render ringing absolutely dangerous. 
If there is a fine tower with a good staircase, what is lacking by nature is usually 
made up for by art in the shape of gross neglect, the belfry being given up to birds 
and bats. Disused bells are extremely common ; in ruined churches where the 
bell remains, the slightest pretext is thought sufficient excuse for not ringing, and 
indeed, when once the rope is broken, it is the aim and object of every beadle to let 
the ivy grow over the belfry, and the birds build inside the bell. One can hardly 
do the authorities the injustice of supposing that such a state of things would be 
allowed to continue if they knew it. 

This practical neglect of bells is nothing new,' as the following quotation will 

" Bells were not universal, even at the end of the last century. It often 
happened that where they were provided there was nowhere to hang them : a 
theologian of 1679 inveighs against 'that pitiful spectacle, bells hanging upon trees 
for want of bell-houses.' Such ' a bell tree ' is still shown in the park at Auldbar f 
but here, obviously, the bell was not placed on the church for the same reason that 

' Nor h.ns it been confined to Scotland, as may l>e seen by consulting Lukis or Ellacombe, who speak in 
no measured terms of the then state of not a few of the English belfries in the more remote districts. There 
has, however, been a great change for the better since interest in bells has been revived, and it is noteworthy 
that nowhere have belfry reforms been more in evidence than in those counties, of whose bells accounts have 
been published. 

'■^ Scollish Abbeys and Cathedrals. J. Roliertson, p. 102. 

' It is said to be gone now. 


the campanile at the Curral in Madeira is built in the churchyard wall, and at the 
sequestered church of Ardclach in Murray on the neighbouring promontory — in 
order that the bell might be better heard — the church itself, in all these cases, lying 
in a deep ravine .... in the Statistical Account, published between 1791 
and 1799. We read . . of two churches at Morven, in the West Highlands, 

which, without seats or bells, might as properly be called sheds of 

St Mungo's, in Annandale, as 'having no bell . . .'" 

We have seen the gradual development of the present form of bell and of 
existing customs and usages ; also the position of Scotland in such matters 
considered in its relation to England and the Continent. We have in particular 
observed its close connection with the latter, as manifested by the amount of 
foreign work there is, and also by the Continental methods of ringing which prevail. 
We have noticed the effects which Scotch history and religious thought have had on 
bells in later times, and we have glanced at the state of things at the present day. 
So that having seen the importance of this branch of Ecclesiology, and as far as 
circumstances allow, obtained a clear idea of bells in Scotland generally, we are 
ready to consider the Church Bells of Kincardineshire. 


There arc 75 bells in Kincardineshire and they are distributed as follows: — 
I. As regards possession. 

All the bells attached to churches on ancient sites are now in the hands of the 
Established Church, which possesses several besides, making a total for that body 

of- ----------- 32 

The Episcopal Church has - - - - 12 

„ Roman „ ... - 2 

„ U. P. „ .... I 

„ Free (and E. Coast) - - - - 14 

In municipal possession .... 5 

„ private „ .... 9 


III. As regards " collections.' 


II. As regards age and kind. 

Mediaeval --.-.....i 
Dutch Renaissance ---.--.. 2 

r 1 8th century -- 4 

(Modern - - - - - - - -13 

Irish ...I 

rEarly i8th century .---.. i 
English. - Late „ (?) i 

iModern -- -34 

Modern (?) Foreign (Ships' bells) ----- 2 

^ , . , fAncient (?) 4 

Doubtful.^-. , ,\; ^ 

[Modern (?)- - - - - - -12 


" Collections "of 3- - - - - -i 

2 2 

Single bells - - - - - - -71 


The " collection " of 3 is at St. Cyrus, and consists of a ringing bell and two 
disused "dead" clock bells ; the collections of 2 are at S. James's (Ep. Ch.), Stone- 
haven, and the Town Steeple, Stonehaven. The former consists of a ringing bell 
and an old disused ship's bell, and the latter of two ringing bells, of which one is 

In 1505 Sir Robert Arbuthnott put two bells in the belfry he built at the west 
end of Arbuthnott Church. He also built a similar belfry at the north west corner 


of the Arbuthnott Chapel, and it is extremely probable that he put two bells there as 
well, because two rope holes still remain in the floor. 

There is but one bell now in the county which can with any det^ree of certainty 
be called a Mediaeval. That is the old bell at Strachan, which probably belongs 
either to the end of the Fifteenth or the beginning of the Sixteenth century. It is 
very .small (13! in.) with a long waist, rounded shoulders and no crown. Although 
the surface is rough and the single bead above the soundbow irregular, yet the 
general outline and proportions, the finish of the inside and the carefully moulded 
canons seem to indicate that it is the work of a regular bell founder and no mere 
local effort. The canons are most peculiar ; they are not at right angles to one 
another, nor yet parallel in pairs, and they seem to have had a sort of beading 
on them. 

The origin of such a bell as this is a difficult matter to determine, as the small 
amount of evidence is very conflicting. The general outline of the bell is decidedly 
foreign, but the canons are smaller in proportion than is usual in foreign work ; the 
rough surface and lack of ornament seem to suggest a different origin. It is rather 
like the 17th at Perth — a fine "AVE" bell of the Fourteenth century, probably 
foreign. This bell also has a single bead above the soundbow, and very rounded 
shoulders, but it has an elaborate inscription and a much longer waist. 

The best explanation seems to be that the bell at Strachan is the work 
of one of those itinerant founders who were common in former times when 
means of transit were not so good as they are now. This would at once account 
for the good shape and canons, and also for the absence of inscription or decorations, 
as itinerants were usually capable men, thoui^h they often did not carry more than 
the appliances necessary for work of the plainest order. 

The following story is told in Strachan with reference to tlie bell : — A long 
while ago, two bells were cast at the same time, one being much better than the 
other. The better of the two was intended for Strachan, the other being for Birse. 
When they were being taken up the Dee valley in the same cart the inferior bell 
was accidentally (?) left at Strachan, while the other was taken on to Birse and 
afterwards became famous for its clear tone, giving rise to the local saying, "as 
clear as the bell o'" So that Birse has all along had the credit for what 
really belonged to Strachan ! If there is anything in this story, which is very 
doubtful, it refer to an older bell than that now at Birse, which was recast in 
1813 from one dated 1675. 

As mentioned above there were till lately two Mediaevals at Arbuthnott, 
one of which is said to have been taken to Montrose Rope Works. Whether this 
is true or not seems to be doubtful, as the bell now at the Rope Works is very small, 
uninscribed, without canons, and short in the waist — in fact it is suspiciously like a 
ship's bell. There also seem to have been Mediaevals at Maryculter and Marykirk 
till recently. 






There is a very peculiar little bell at Brotherton House; it is known to be not 
modern, and it is said that the old bell of Benholm Church was taken to Brotherton 
at the revolution. It is 94 in. in diameter, very long-waisted, and has two large 
canons on a very flat crown. There are two clear and regular beads above the 
soundbow, but otherwise the bell is quite plain. It is just possible that it may be 
l6th century work, although it is probably later. 

Until 1869 there was a bell at Banchory Devenic inscribed : — 

H B. . ALLEINE . GOT . IN . DER . HOGE . SEI . ERE . 1 597 
As described by those who remember it, it was very long waisted, had four large 
canons at right angles to each other, and was about 18 in. in diameter. The in- 
scription was in plain Roman capitals between two beads above the soundbow : on 
one side of the waist there was a " large scroll-like ornament," but otherwise the 
bell was perfectly plain. Is it possible that this ornament was Burgerhuys's phoenix, 
" HB." standing for H. Burgerhuys? 

There are two Seventeenth century Dutch bells in the county — the older bell at 
Banchory Ternan, 1664, and that at Kinneff, 1679, both by Peter Ostens of Rotter- 
dam. They are excellent examples of Dutch Renaissance work, and have fairly 
long waists, large canons, moulded crowns, thin and rather angular soundbows, and 
bands of mouldings instead of the simple English beads. They both have a border 
of large strawberry leaves below the inscription, and an elaborate ornamental band 
above. There is a small floral ornament at the beginning of each inscription, and 
a figure of a recumbent ox between the founders' names : this seems to be Ostens' 
foundry mark. The Kinneff bell is 23 in. in diameter, being 4^ in. larger than that 
at Banchory, and his the inscription in Dutch instead of Latin like the latter: the 
tone, moreover, is much finer. The ornamental band above the inscription consists 
of angels ringing hand bells amidst elaborate conventional foliage ; it is more than 
twice as broad as that at Banchory, which consists of figures' reclining amidst grapes, 
flowers and leaves, and is much more delicate than the one at Kinneff. The canons 
at Banchory are slightly ornamented. The clappers in both cases are the originals 
and are very much worn ; they seem to have represented twisted cords with tassels. 

Other bells by the same founder are the 4th at Montrose, 1675 — perhaps the 
most profusely ornamented bell in this part of the country — and, until it was recast 
in 1818, a bell at Alloa, 1668. 

Here must be noticed the bells of Mains of Barras, Dunnottar House, and 
Ecclesgreig House ; also the old bell at Blairs. These are all small, plain, long- 
waisted bells without inscriptions. They all seem to be prior to the last century 
and may be verj' old. That at Barras seems to be of Seventeenth century date, 
and that at Dunnottar possibly much earlier. 

Of Eighteenth century Scotch work there are only four examples now hanging 
in the county, and they are all from the Old Aberdeen foundry. There is, however, 
another one which has been recast with the old inscription reproduced. 

' It is often very hard to say whetlier these Renaissance figures are intended for angels or cupids, as the 
revived paganism made the representations very similar. In the case of the Banchory bell they are probably 
cupids, being wingless and amidst bacchanalian surroundings, but at Kinneff they seem to be angels, as they 
are winged and are ringing bells. 


The history of this Old Aberdeen foundry has not as yet been thoroughly in- 
vestigated, but there is sufficient material to enable us to construct an imperfect 
record of it, of which only an outline will be given here, fuller treatment being 
reserved for " Church Bells of Aberdeenshire," to which it by right belongs. 

It is impossible at present to say when the Aberdeen foundry was started. As 
yet, however, no Aberdeen bell has been found earlier than that at Cushnic, 1686, by 
Patrick Kilgour, who cast a bell for Aberdeen Cathedral in 1688, having been 
admitted to the Guild of Hammermen as a wheelwright in 1662. According to 
the Burgess Roll of Aberdeen, one Patrick Kilgoure or Killgower, a watchmaker at 
Old Aberdeen, applied for and received rights of freedom in the New Town, and was 
obliged " not to ... . work in . . . any of the trads . . . only that 
it shall be leasome to him to make or mend watches or cast bells as he may have 
occasion." There is none of his work in Kincardineshire, but his successor, Albert 
Gely, whose foundry was at the head of Baillie Forsyth's Close, is represented at 
Portlethen, 1702. This is a pretty little bell on a good Low Country model, with 
neatly cast letters and mouldings. Above and below the inscription it has a 
peculiar kind of ornamental border, of which isolated pieces are used as stops 
between the words. A sheaf of corn, placed horizontally, seems to be the founder's 
mark. Douglas speaks of him as having " refounded most of the bells in " 
Aberdeen, and several yet remain in that county. He it was who offered to recast 
the King's College bells if the authorities would allow him a third of the metal. 
His latest date found as yet is 17 13. 

His successor was John Mowat, called a "blacksmith " in old records, admitted 
to the Guild of Hammermen in 1717, and made Burgess of Guild in 1719. He 
seems to have done a large business as locksmith, clockmaker, and general black- 
smith, in addition to casting bells, indeed several of his clocks are still in existence. 
He " demitted his office of Deaconry " of the Hammermen in 1725, was master from 
1730 to 1733, master and boxmaster from I73S to 1743, and master again from 1744 
to 1746. During the next few years he became involved in reference to some guild 
money, and he does not seem to have come out with very clean hands. His bells are 
very numerous, especially in Aberdeenshire. He died in I77L 

Kincardineshire now possesses three bells by him, viz., those at Nigg, 1759, 
Durris, 1765, and Arbuthnott, 1736 (recast). There were formerlj- two others — one at 
Cookney, which came from S. Clements, Aberdeen, and the other at Drumlithie Town 
Steeple. Mowat, in common with the other Old Aberdeen founders, followed the Low 
Country model, but his bells have not such a good outline as Gely's, and have very 
clumsy shoulder.s. Mowat's tone was almost always " stony." He was profuse with 
decorations and used good clear letters, but he arranged them with such clumsiness 
and irregularity that his bells always have an inelegant and overloaded appearance. 
The ornaments on his earlier bells are bad copies of those of Ostens of Rotterdam, 
pieces of whose elegant friezes he used to fill up spaces, heedless of where the design 
began and ended. He even used Ostens' foundry mark, and put scraps of his flowers 
as stops between the words. His later bells are rather plainer and had a simple 
acanthus leaf frieze in place of Ostens' elaborate ornaments. Nearly all of them 
have a row of flcur-de-lys round the shoulder. Arbuthnott had one of the earlier 





' •», 

*• «J^tl 2 




bells and the Arbuthnott arms were on its waist. It was broken by falling during 
the fire of 1890, and was recast by Gillet & Johnston of Croydon, who reproduced 
in facsimile the inscriptions and decorations on what is otherwise a bell of their own 
model. The bell at Skene, however, cast in the previous year, shows us exactly 
what it was like. Nigg has one of the later kind — 1759 — and Durris has the latest 
of his found as yet. It was cast in 1765, and is without the border of fleur-de-Iys 
round the shoulder. 

"Andrew Lawson, Blacksmith," was admitted into the Burgess Guild of Old 
Aberdeen and also into the incorporation of Hammermen in I765, and was deacon 
of the latter in 1773. He was Mowat's apprentice, and certainly succeeded to his 
bell foundry, as he used his models, lettering, and fleur-de-lys. He cast the bell of 
Dunnottar in 1783, and, as far as is known, this is the last of the bells from the 
Aberdeen foundry. It is exactly like one of Mowat's, but there is only one line of 
inscription, in which groups of Mowat's fleur-de-lys are inserted at intervals: there 
are no ornamental bands, but there is a space for a second line of inscription, all the 
beads and mouldings being identical with Mowat's. Lawson died in 1810. His son, 
also named Andrew, joined the Hammermen in 1793. 

It has been thought right to detail the work of the Aberdeen foundry thus 
fully because of the extremely important position which it occupies. Insignificant 
though they are. those few fleur-de-lys, used on the Dunnottar bell, are perhaps one 
of the very latest survivals of the Ecclesiastical art of the middle ages. This is 
perfectly possible, because founders' stamps were handed on from one founder to 
another, and in England there are several cases of the use of Mediaeval stamps at 
the end of the 17th century. Moreover, in the foreign mouldings and outline of the 
Dunnottar bell we see a lingering survival of that Continental influence, which ever 
since the English wars in the 14th century had held such sway in Scotland. 

There was a small foundry at Montrose in the early part of the present century, 
carried on first by David Barclay, and after 1820, by J. Dickson & Co., who are 
said to have done a large trade as general founders. The former cast the bell of 
Benholm in 1820, and the latter those of Fettercairn and Johnshaven. The Fetter- 
cairn bell is like an inverted basin, and is not quite circular. It has a row of large 
clear acanthus leaves above the soundbow. The Johnshaven bell is inscribed : — 

FOUNDRY and is very much like a large ship's bell. 


The buildings where the foundry was carried on are still in existence on the 
West side of River Street. They are now occupied by Messrs. J. R. Mitchell & 
Co., who do not, however, cast bells. 

Bells at Nigg (Est. Ch.), 1833, Cults, 1883, Cove, (E.C. Mission), 1887, Torry 
Free Church, 1890, and Drumtochty Castle, are by John Blaikie & Sons of Aberdeen, 
brass and general founders, who have been in existence about a century. The 
Nigg bell is one of their earliest. This is the firm who bought up all the old metal 
from S. Nicholas, Aberdeen, after the fire of 1S74. 

Banchory Devenic Free Church has a flower-pot bell cast by Simpson & Co., 
Ironfounders, of Footdee, Aberdeen, in 1861. This was the first and onlj- bell 
they cast. 





Marykiik Ficc Church disputes with I'cttcrcairn the unenviable distinction of 
being the possessor of the worst bell in the county. This remarkable production 
is the work of John Duffus & Co. of Aberdeen, and enjoys the further distinction of 
being a " pre-disruption Free Church bell," having been cast in 1830. 

The bell in the Town Steeple of New Stonehaven is by John C. Wilson & Co. 

of Glasgow ; it is 35^ in. in diameter, 
weighs 8 cwt., and is the largest and heaviest 
bell in the county. The annexed block' 
shows the shape of the bell and the method 
n' ' '■], of hanging. 

'b»5?saa- UM^J 1 'i^ bell of Drumlithie Town Steeple 

was recast from one of Mowat's by some 
^ , -7^ '. 'AiM E29 Dundee founders in 1868. 

There is a bell at Blairs College by J. 
Murph}' of Dublin. It was cast in 1859, is 
20 in. in diameter, has a flat crown, sharp 

shoulders and large canons decorated with a reed (jrnament. The tone is very good, 

and the clapper of unusual size. 

We now come to the Ftnglish bells. 

At Fetteresso there is a bell inscribed : — 

It is of good proportions and more than average tone ; the form of the letters 
and the date point almost without doubt to Rich.ird Phelps of Whitechapel as the 

The old bell of Marycultcr (Fst. Ch.) seems to be an English bell of a very 
thirti rale order, although it ma\' be a Scotch "copy." The inscripliun runs: — 
1786 1787 

Of modern English bells there arc 34. .As the fcnmdries are all in working, 
it will be as well to arrange them in the alphabetical order of the localities. 

Gillett & Johnston of Crojdon recast the bell of .Arbuthnott in 1890. 

London : Cleikeuwell. 
Bowen & Co. of Clcrkcnwcll cast a 19 in. bell for the Establi.shed Church 

at Strachan in 1890. 

London : Spitalfields. 

Drumlithie Free Church, 1858, Bieldsidc (Ep. Ch.), 1880, Banchory Ternan 
Free Church (28 in.), 1883, Cove (Ep. Ch.), 1887, and the Chapel in Craiginches 
Prison, 1890, have bells cast by John Warner & Sons of the Crescent Foundry. 

London : Whitechapel. 

Besides the doubtful one mentioned above, Kincardineshire has 21 bells from 
this foundrs-. A bell at Glenbervie dated 1789- is from W. & T. Mears, and .so was 
the old bell of St. Cyru.s. Those of Bervie, 1791, Bervie Town, 1792,- and the Town 
Steeple, Stonehaven, 1793 are by Thomas Mears the elder. From Thomas Mears 

' Kindly lent by Messrs. J. C. Wilson & Cn. 

- Almost certainly from this founcirj-, though without other inscription than the date. 




the younger we have the bcllsof Laurencekirk (Ep. Ch.), 1813, Mains of Davo, 1815,* 
Banchory Ternan (Est. Ch.), 1820 (29 in.), Mains of Arbuthnott, 1823 (26^ in.), 
Marykirk, 1826, Garvoc,' 1830, Fettercsso (Est. Ch.), 1834 (30^ in.), Drumlithie 
(Ep. Ch.), 1834,- and F"ordoun, 1835'' (34i in.), the largest but one in the county. 
C. & G. Mears cast the 3 at St. Cyrus in 1845, 1846, and 1847 respectively : also the 
the bell at Fasque (PLp. Ch.) in 1846, and that of Catterline (Ep. Ch.) in 1849, which 
has a long inscription in Lombardic letters. Mears & Stainbank have cast bells for 
Lauriston Castle 1869, Cults Free Church, 1872, and Maryculter (Est. Ch.), 1896. 


Five bells are from J. Taylor & Co. of Loughborough : they are those of 
Banchory Devenic, recast 1869, Thornton Castle, 1879, Bourtreebush Free Church, 
1884, Drumtochty (Ep. Ch.}, 1885, and Cookney (25^ in.), 1886. 


Laurencekirk has 
a 24 in. "Steel bell" by 
Vickers Sons & Co. of 
Sheffield, 1895. 

The illustration^ 
shows a bell exactly 
like it with similar 

The bells of Much- 
alls (Ep. Ch.), Cowie 
Mission Church and 
Durris Free Church also 
the 1st at St. James's 
(Ep. Ch.), Stonehaven, 
are old ship's bells ; 
the first mentioned was 
fished up out of the sea 
by some Cowie line 
fishers, and is a modern 
bell without interest. 

That of Durris 
Free Church has elabo- 
rate ornamental borders 
and seems to be a last 

century Low Country bell. The 1st at S. James's, Stonehaven is of interest because 

it bears some resemblance to Danckwart's bell at Stirling.* 

Of unknown origin are the bells of Banchory Ternan (Ep. Ch.), and Kinneff 

Free Church, both 1851 ; also the uninscribed bells of Rickarton, ^r.j., and of S. Cyrus 

and Johnshaven Free C'lnuxhes. 

1 V. p. 7. 

- Almost certainly fnmi this luunflry, though without other inscripion than the dale. 

' V. Appendix. 

* Kindly lent liy Messrs. Vickers Sons »\; Co. 



The bells of Luthcrmuir U.P. Church, of Maryculter and Strachan Free 
Churches, and of several schools, etc., are diminutive and entirely without interest. 

Arbuthnott (Ep. Ch.), Durris (Ep. Ch.) and Stonehaven (R.C. Ch.) are without 
bells. So also are two modern Established Chapels, two U.P. and five Free 
Churches : also the " Berean " Conventicle at Sauchieburn. 

The followin<r bells are disu.scd :— Nigg (Old) ; Banchory Ternan (Old) ; the 
1st and 2nd of St. Cyrus ; the 1st of S. James's, Stonehaven ; the 1st at the Town 
Steeple of Stonehaven ; the Town bell of Bervie, and the bell at Mains of Barras. 

The following ancient bells not in use arc carefully preserved as objects of 
historic interest : — 

Strachan — In the Session House adjoining the (Est.) Church. 

Maryculter — In the Church Hall adjoining the (Est.) Church. 

There is comparatively little worthy of note in the way of ringing customs in 
Kincardineshire beyond the early bells at the Parish Churches. 

The hours at which these are rung are shown in the subjoined table : — 


Fordoun ... 



Banchory Ternan 



St. Cyrus 








Banchory Devenic 


Strachan ... 

Time of Ringino. 

TiMR OK Service. 



8 (discontinued) 


? 8 (discontinued) • ■■ 
• .. 9 (discontinued) 

••• 9 

••• 9 


... 9 (di5Conlinued) 





lO (discontinued ; 
10.45 ^■™- substituted) 


I I 


I I 


(discfjnlinued : II a.m. 
sul)slituted in 1S84). 


10.30 (discontinued) in 


• I 



...? 9 (discontinued) .. IO.3O 

NO RINGING (except for service) 

12 (discontinued ; 11 

a.m. sulistituted 187*) 











For the significance of the above, readers may refer to the remarks on this part 
of the subject in the general introduction. 

The lo o'clock bell at Cookncy quoad sacra Established Church seems to be 
a survival of the Scripture reading mentioned on p. 8. 

The following table shows the times of ringing of the town bells at Drumlithie 
and Stonehaven : — 

Stonehaven (New) 5.30 





8 91 




A.M. F..M. 



The bell of the chapel at Johnshaven used to be rung daily at 6 a.m. and 8 
p.m. It was also rung to warn ships in foggy weather. 

In the last century a custom was instituted in some of the Deeside churches of 
ringing the bell at 1 2 on Saturday night to warn the salmon fishers that it was time 
to stop work, and also at 12 on Sunday night to let them know that they might 
resume. But this has not been done for many years. 

Occasionally it will be found that Free Churches ring an hour or half an hour 
before service in addition to ringing-in. This is sometimes to give extra notice, 
sometimes for Sunday school, and occasionally a mere copy of what is done at the 
Established Church. 

ARBUTHNOTT. S. Ternan. l. 

OH crown 1221 


on -iUaist A 

above soimdhow RECAST BY GILLETT & Co CROYDON 1890. 

A Panel with Arbuthnott arms. *®t 

I § Ornamental band. I Cwt. 2 qr. 

I Floral stop. Old bell :— 

X ,, ,, blundered. 

1 Cwt. I qr. 
Ornaments from Ostens of Rotterdam. Broken in fire of 1890 ; recast' with inscription, 
decorations, etc., in facsimile. Denison headed. 
In 16th cent, turret at W. end of Nave. 
9 a.m., s. 1 1.30 a.m. 
' The bell at Skene, .Aberdeenshire, is exactly like what this was before being recast ; its note is Fl and 
the tone is stony. 

The following shows that there were formerly two bells where this one is : — 
"[Robertus .Arbuthnotiis] Primum enim earn Templi Arbuthnotici partem quae occidentem spectat, 
elegantiore quam prius erat opere extruendam, ac rotundam turrim suspendendis campanis idoneam ei parti 
superimposuit, candemque diiabus campanis ornavit." — " Originis ct Incmnenli Arlmthnoticae Fainiliae Des- 
criflio Historita, etc. Auctore, D. A. .A.rbuthnoto.'' 

This is said to have been in 1505. It is probable that the existing bell contains the 
metal of these. 

There is a similar turret at the north west corner of the Arbuthnott Chapel, which we 
are told in the document quoted above was also built by Sir Robert Arbuthnott.' It is 
therefore highly probable that he put two bells there also, and this is confirmed by the fact 
that two rope holes still remain in the floor. The bell in the works of the Montrose Rope 
and Sail Co. is said to have been brought from here: it is uninscribed, is ni in. in diameter, 
not long in the waist, and without canons — in fact, suspiciously like an old ship's bell. 

' Deinde famim quoddam egregiae et artis et materiae quadiato lapide ad templi angulum qui P^urum 
spectat a solo erexit Insulam Arbuthnoticam nunc vocant 

Chapel of S. Mary. PEATTIE. 


Episcopal Church of S. Mary. PARKNOOK. 


Mains of Arbuthnott. 1. 

T. Mears of London Fecit 1823. OOvOv 


In clock tower of farm buildings, d. 1792. Used as a clock bell, but seldom runt; 

\ %mi 

















on ■n'aist 

1597. RECAST 18.59. 


I cwt. I qr. 22 lbs. 
In bird-cage belfry over W. end. 
II a.m. s. 12. 
Was recast from old hell inscribed : — 

H B. . ALLEINE . GOT . IN . DER . HOGE . SEI . ERE . 1597 

probably about 17 1" 
) cwt. 6 lbs. 
The statement in the new Statistical Account, p. 185, that this bell was cast at Gotin 
obviously arises from a misreading of the inscription. Cf. bell at Comrie, 1583. 

Chapel of S. Ternan. FINDON. 

Site doubtful. 

Episcopal Church of S. Andrew. BIELDSIDE, 1. 

on soundiio'iu 


In belfry over W. end. I2» 

I qr. i6 lbs. 
Ch. formerly stood in the part of the parish near Mannofield ; moved here in 1895, 
where it is now in a part of Pelcrculter that was formerly in Banchory Devenic. 

"Quoad Sacra" Established Ch. PORTLETHEN. 1. 


§ Founder's mark. lis" 

II Ornamental stop. 

t ,, ,, blundered. 

Broken mouthed ; in bird cage belfry over \V. end. Erroneously said to be an old ship's 
bell — a common coast-side tradition, Cf. Nigg. 

"Quoad Sacra" Established Ch. CULTS. 1. 

on waist 1883 

No canons ; in wooden belfry over E. end. 

Cast by John Blaikie & Sons of Aberdeen from a piece of the old tenor of S. Nicholas, 
Aberdeen, nicknamed "Old Lawrie" on account of its dedication to S. Lawrence. 


Free Ch. 

on waist 










A canonless flower-pot-shaped bell by Simpson & Co. of Aberdeen. 

Free Ch. CULTS. 1. 


3 cwt. 2 qrs. i8 lbs. 
Note. — Although the Quacu/ Sacra Established Church at Mannofield is partly in this parish, the 
tower and bell are in Aberdeenshire. 



§ Detached floral ornament ; a small rose and leaves. 18J' 

+ Figure of a recumbent ox. 

In small bird-cage belfry on south side of circular watch house in old churchyard. 

Established Ch. 1. 


T Mears of London Fecit 1820 OOOO^- 

In tower at S. end. 
8 a.m., 10 a.m., s. 11.30. 

? Chapel of S. Mary. MARYFIELD. 


Site doubtful. 

Episcopal Church of S. Ternan. 

allopo/waiU ^ l^Hx "^ 

A canonless flower-pot-shaped bell in arch belfry over W. end. 


Free Ch. 1. 



S cwt. 
Fixed " dead " on a beam built into walls of tower at S. E. comer. The clapper is 
moved by a rope tied to a piece of iron fixed at right angles to it ! 


BENHOLM. S. Marnan. i. 

David Barclay Montrose 1820 


In bird cage belfry over E. end. 
10.30 a.m. [? formerly also at 9 a.m.] s. 11 a m. 

There is a tradition that the bell from this church was taken away to Brotherton at the 
revolution, together with the Church Plate. 

Established Chapel. JOHNSHAVEN. 1. 

on -vaist MONTROSE 


Hemispherical crown, long waist and large soundbow ; no canons. Rung at 5 p.m., s. 
5.30 ]5.m ; formerly also in fogs, and if a vessel came ashore ; until c. 1880 also at 6 a.m., 
and 8 p.m. daily, exc. Suns. 

Free Ch. JOHNSHAVEN. 1. 


Without canons ; said to have been brought from St. Petersburg by a Captain Mearns. 

Brotherton House. 

NO iNS(;RiprioN. 

A peculiar bell with a long waist and two large canons : very smooth and new looking, but 
said to be very old. May possibly be of late i6th or early 17th century date. 

CATTERLINE. S. Catharine. 

Parish now united to KINNEFF. 


Hardly anything left except the churchyard. 

Episcopal Church of S. Philip. 1.. 

on <vaisl F?OS OBUS iuSBicalSO IGSU yifJSUSe PpUGieO 

ex Dono GULiieumi es 5oseeF?i F^psKoiiu 
f?rino sphusis cqdsssxu'ix 

on soiimihoiv CQEfll^S LiORDirji 

In arch belfry over \V. end. 

DUNNOTTAR. S. Bridget. 1. 

TO DINOTER ttttt .-XNl)^^- I.AWSON OLD ABD i783ttttttt 

t ficur-de-lys. 18" 



Some of the canons broken ; fleur-de-lys ornament much corroded in parts. Exactly 
like one of Mowat's bells. So far as is known, the latest of the Old .A.berdeen bells. 
In bird cage belfry over W. end. 
II a.m., s. 11.30 a.m., 6 jj.m. 

Chapel of S. Bridget in DUNNOTTAR CASTLE. 

The Parish Church until 1394. 


On the west gable is still left the stone cill of what seems to have been a bird cage 
belfry of much the usual type. 

The two bells now in use at the castle gate are diminutive, modern, and without interest. 

Chapel of S. Ninian. DUNNOTTAR. 


Renjains of chapel buried under one of the gardens of Dunnottar House. 

Chapel of S. ? URAS. 

Site doubtful. 

Episcopal Church of S. James. STONEHAVEN. 2. 


abt. 13" 
(2^ said to be : — B 1800 

abt. 18" 

No. I is lying rusty and disused in tiie base of the campanile above the door into the 

vestry. It belonged to a Norwegian vessel that was wrecked off Cowie, and was the bell of 

the new church before the ^^(^ was brought from the old. It has two ornamental bands and 

no canons. 

No. 2 is hung at the lop of the campanile without means of access ; it was the bell of 
the old church. Perhaps " B " stands for " Barclay " of .Montrose. 

Roman Catholic Church of 

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. STONEHAVEN. 

Established Chapel of S. Bridget. STONEHAVEN. 


Dunnottar House. 1. 


I of" 
Without canons but may be very old : possibly from the old chapel of S. Xiiiian. 

Town Steeple. STONEHAVEN. 2. 


(2) 17 9 3 ^^0•,)0^^ 



No. I is disused. 

No. 2, probably liy T. Mears of London, has some of the canons broken. 

Rung daily at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. ; formerly also at 9 p.m. 

Hung between beams at base of spire. 

Mains of Barras. 1^ 



Before the old house of Barras was pulled down the bell used to hang in a small bird 
cage belfry which is still preserved, but whether it was the alarm bell of the house or a bell 
from any old chapel it is impossible to .say, as it is very small and has been painted. It 
seems to have canons, and certainly is not modern, but its age is doubtful. It is now hung 
in an iron bracket outside VV. gable of farm house, where it was put in 1863 by request of the 
Governors of Donaldson's Hospital, Edinburgh. 

DURRIS. S. Congeal. l. 



t t + 

t + t Ornamental border. 16 J" 

4. 4. 4. same inverted. 

One of the latest of Mowat's bells. His usual fleur-de-lys border above inscription is 
absent, and lines of inscription are further apart than usual. 

In small bird-cage belfry over \V. end, which has been covered by an erection of wood. 
II a.m., s. 12. Prior to 1884 at 10 a.m instead of 11 a.m. 

Episcopal Church (private). 

Free Ch. 1- 

0)1 waist FORTUNE 

An old ship's bell. 

No canons ; good but irregular ornamental border on soundbow, and a double one on 
shoulder. Probably from an old Low Country or Baltic vessel. Perhaps iSth century work. 
In a sort of closed bird-cage belfry over E. end, and inaccessible. 


.„w. J . DICKSON Sl €• 



above soundbow • • ♦ » • 

* Acanthus leaf height isj" 


Hemispherical crown apparently mutilated ; extremely short waist. A kind of inverted 
metal basin. A row of very clear acanthus leaves just above soundbow. 
In small tower below spire at \V. end. 
No ringing except /or serria fat ll a.m.] 
The previous bell used to hang in a tree on a hill called the " bell hillock." 

Chapel of S. Adamnan (?) ARNHALL. 

Site doubtful. 

Episcopal Church of S. Andrew. FASQUE. 1. 

C & (i Mi;.\KS KOUNDEKS LONDON 1846 

In arch belfry over VV. end. 

FETTERESSO. S. Caran. l. 


Of good proportions and more than average tone ; probably by Richard Phelps of 

Said to be occasionally rung at funerals. 
Church in ruins. 

Established Ch. 1. 

Thomas Meaus ok London Foundkr i8.« 



In town at S. end. 

9 a.m., s. 1 1.30 a.m., and 6 p.m. 

Chapel of S. S. Mary & Nathalan. COWIE. 

III ruins. 

Chapel of S. ^ ELSICK. 

Churcnyard only. 

Episcopal Church of S. Ternan. MUCHALLS. 1. 


A canonless ship's bell fished up from tlie sea by some Cowie line fishers in 1847; 
formerly hung in the old belfry, but now in wooden frame on X. side of chancel, awaiting 
hanging in new arch belfry over \V. end. 

Episcopal Mission Room. COWIE. 1. 

An old ship's bell without interest. 


Episcopal Chapel of S. Mary within COWIE HOUSE. 

Sanctus bell : — 








onsoundbozu C.\P. S. M.\RL-E DE COWIE MDCCCXCVI. 


A plain hand bell with polished surface and of fine clear tone. Inscription incised: part 
withheld by special request. 

"Quoad Sacra" Established Ch. COCKNEY. I. 


3 rwt. 2 qrs. 25 lbs. 
In large arch belfry over \V. end. Rung by rope in N. ^V. corner running over series of 
pulleys up inside gable to roof ridge whence goes a chain to an iron lever fa.slened to the 
wheel, "because it was too stiff to ring as it was." When the church was rebuilt in 1885 
the old bell was taken away, and after passing through several hands was at length bought 
by Messrs. John Blaikie & Sons of Aberdeen, who melted it. It seems to have been one of 
Mowat's, cast about the middle of the last century, with a Heur-de-lys border and the 
inscription in two lines. Originally cast for S. Clement's, .Aberdeen, it was sent to Cockney 
on the ])urchase of a new bell for the former. 

"Qucad Sacra" Established Ch. RICKARTON. 1. 


Obtained 187 1. No canons. 
In arch belfry over N. end. 

Established Chapel of S. John. STONEHAVEN. 



on waist I: ©pyUOF{ flliD 69 POUriDEI^S. 

50 ©i7e pi^ee si^ai^SF? op ssoiSLifiriD, BOUF{Si*eeBUSF?, 

PFjoffi p.oBeFjs fino pcQeiiifi GFjpn© iiumsDen 


2 qr. 10 lbs. 
In small bird-cage belfry over E. end. 


New Town Steeple. STONEHAVEN. 




35 i" 
8 cwt. 


9 a.m., 2 i).m., 8 p.m. : formerly also 5.30 a.m. 

Sundays: 11 a.m., 5.30 p.m., "as slowly as possible." 

On special occasions, etc., every 15 minutes from 12 to 2 p.m. 

FORDOUN. S. Palladius. 1. 

Thomas Mears of London Founder 1835. 


The largest but one in the county. 

In tower at W. end. 

8 a.m., lo a.m. ; s. 1 1 a.m. Also at 5 and 6 p.m. when there is service at 6. 

Chapel of S. Palladius IN THE CHURCHYARD. 


Chapel of S. Catharine KINCARDINE. 

Churchyard only. 

Chapel of S. ? TEMPLE. 

Site doubtful. 

Episcopal Church of S. Palladius DRUMTOCHTY. 1. 


I cwt. 3 qr. II lbs. 
Cast in 18S5. 
At top of campanile between chancel and S. transept. 

Drumtochty Castle. 

A small bell without interest recently recast by J. Blaikie & Sons of .\berdeen from an 
uninscribed bell not more than a century old. 

GARVOC. S. James [the Great.] i. 

18 3 

1 8 J* 


By T. Mears of London. Brought from Laurencekirk in 1896. 
In very fine bird-cage belfry over W. end. 
8 a.m. (10 a.m. also, until 1891] s. 11 a.m. 



Date 1778 : probably by Pack & Chapman of London. Cf. Glenbervie, etc., also Session 
Records : — 

" 1778. gth .-^ugt. The Minister presented acct. of new bell for new Kirk fully dischd. by Capt. 

Ballance or difTerence in exchange betwixt the old and new bell £^ 14:0 

Shore dues and other incidental expenses 5.' 6." 

" '779- Janr. 24th For stocking the new bell £\ : 2 : o 

Up-putting of bell 3 : o 

Having become badly cracked, it was sold by the Heritors in 1896 for £2 lis. 

Chapel of S. ? BALHAGERTY. 

Site doubtful. 

Mains of DAVO. L 

18 15 

Probably by T. Mears of London. 

In square bell-cot over S. side of farm buildings which are dated 1812. 
Used as a clock bell ; no longer rung. 

GLENBERVIE. S. Michael. 


Very little of the old church left. 

Established Church. 1. 

17 8 9 


Probably by W. & T. .Mears of London. Lip filed away i in. on one side, \ in. on 
other, to allow of swinging in ])resent belfry when it was brought froin old church on the 
building of this one in 1826. 

In small bird-cage belfry over W. end. 

10 a.m., s. 1 1 a.m. 

The tradition th;it Drumlithie Town bell came from here is dealt with below. 

Chapel of S. Mary. DILLAVAIRD. 

Site doubtful. 


? Chapel of S. Conon. DRUMLITHIE. 


Site duuhllul. 

Episcopal Church of S. John the-Baptist. DRUMLITHIE. 

18 3 4 

One canon broken. Probably by T. Mears of London. 2 qrs. 18 lbs. 

In S. arch of double arch belfry at \V. end : used to be in old church, the belfry of 
which is now preserved in the Rectory garden. 
See also Tmvn Steeple. 

Free Ch. 1. 

on SOU mi I'd o 


I cwt. 2 qr. 
In arch belfry over \V. end. The " Kirk lum " finds an outlet through the sill of the 
belfry immediately underneath the bell ! 

Town Steeple. DRUMLITHIE 

on waiii 



A flower-pot bell with a large projecting lip and no soundbow. Recast in Dundee from 
one by John Mowat of Old Aberdeen. 

There is a tradition that the old town bell of Drumlithie came from Glenbervie Church ; 
if so, it must have been an earlier bell than the predecessor of the one there now (d. 1 789), 
for it is known to have been hanging in a tree prior to 1777, when the old steeple was built. 

The most probable explanation is that the bell was taken away from Glenbervie with the 
church plate after the Revolution for use at the Episcopal Church in Drumlithie, that it was 
broken by Cumberland in 1746, recast for use as a " town's bell" by the inhabitants (who 
were then all Episcopalians), and hung in a large ash tree in the middle of the village. This 
would correspond with the fact of the old bell having been one of Mowat's. It was put into 
the old steeple when that was built in 1777, and was broken by some boys in 1868, when 
it was recast and the new steeple was built. 

The vane from the old steeple — a cock, dated 1777 — is still preserved on an outhouse in 
the village, and the ash tree in which the bell used to hang is still flourishing. 

6 a.m., 10 p.m. daily exc. Sundays. 



Old bell : now in bell-cot on Police Station :— 1. 

17 9 2 18" 

Probably by T. Mears of London. Disused. Formerly rung at 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 2 p.m., 
and 9 p.m. 


Established Ch. 1.. 

Given ii\' Provost Barclay to thk BLuciii oi- Bervie I'l'i 

OH u/>ferparl o/-.raist TlIO.^ MeARS OK LoNDON FkCIT 

111 tower at E. end. 

Formerly the property of the town ; the bell now on the Police Station was the bell of 
the old church till the neu- one was built in 1832, when an exchange was made witii the 
town bell. 

9 a.m., s. II a.m. [until 1872, also at 10. 30 a.m., s. 12.] 

The belfry of the old (luuxh is still standing. 

Carmelite Church of S. ? 

.Site only. 


Parish now included in kINNEFF. 

Site only. 

KINNEFF. S. Adamnan. i. 


0)1 waist * M * 

* I ;)< H * 

§ Delached uinniiiciU ; a sni.ill rose ami leaves. 

t Figure of recuiiilieul iix. 

* Small rose. 2^' 


In a kind ot bird-cage belfry over \\ . end. 

1 1 a.m., s. 11.30. 

The initials on the waist stand for " Master James Honeyman," in charge here 
from 1663 to 1693, in whose time the bell was obtained, as a[)pears from .\rchbisho[) Sharp's 
'' Visitation " entitled : — 

" A Reijister of the Visitations of the severall Cliiuches by and within the bounds of the Presbetry of the 
Mearns appointed by the Archbishope and Synod 

Aprile 27th 1677." 
in which the following occurs: — 
" Kirk of Kinnetf 

June 26th 167S.'' 

" Being asked concerning the Church it was answered, that the heritors had accorded for to make up its 
defects necessary for its intirc reparation. Theirs no utensils nor bell for convocating of the people. The 

Minister is appointed to urge the heritors to su|iplie these wants ' 

" Master James C.avin, Clerk." 

Chapel of S. John the Baptist. BARRAS. 


Site only. 





on upper part of waist \ 1851 t 

t Floral (irnament. 
No canons. about i 5" 

LAURENCEKIRK. S. Laurence-the-Archbishop. i. 


§ Royal Arms. ^4 

2 cwt. I qr. 2 lbs. 

No canons ; cast iron stock and wheel ; hanging on cast iron brackets bolted to floor of 
open belfry at top of small campanile at W. end. No means of access. Obtained in 1895 
when church was restored and enlarged. 

Formerly rung at 8 a.m. and at 10 a.m. ; recently the latter ringing was discontinued, but 
now it has been revived, and the former discontinued. 

Old bell : - 

By T. Mears of London, taken to darvoc in 1895, 'J''-'- P- 3'- '- sed to hang in arch 
belfry over W. end. 

Chapel of S. Anthony. CHAPELKNAP OF SCOTSTON. 


Site only. 

Episcopal Church of S. Laurence-the-Archbishop. 1. 

T. Mears ok London Fecit isi;5. 

Originally in an inaccessible position at top of steeple : brought down and rehung in a 
lower stage by Mears & Stainbank of London in 1895. 



Very few remains of the church. 

'I'he bell was broken by some fishermen at a funeral about 100 years ago. It was one of 
three famous bells in the district, of which that of Trinity Chapel, .Vberdeen, was another. 
A few stones of the old belfry are left. 

Established Ch. 1. 

® Sancta * (Qaria * Oni * ©ro * Hobis. 

en waist 


* Kleur-de-lys. 

In bird-cage belfry over \\'. end. 

Old bell :— 

1786 1787 




The two dates are most peculiar : the hell is hadly cracked, ami is perhaps by an 
inferior English founder. It is now carefully preserved in the hall adjoining the church. 

Church within St. Mary's College. BLAIRS. 

Our Lady of the Assumption. 


I a* 

(/3) ahoff sotiudbmv J MURPHY P C N D E R DUBLIN lS.-,9 


(,9) A good bell with large canons, the faces of which have a reed ornament ; crown flat, 
with mouldings, angular shoulders ; waist separated from soundbow by a small band of 
moulding ; no beads : clapper very large and heavy. 

In round tower between N. Front and W. wing. 

(a) Disused ; hangs on iron brackets at S. side of chimney-stack in centre of main 
buildings. It may be very old. 

Free Ch. 1- 


A diminutive bell without interest. 



Very few remains of the church. 

The bell is said to have been broken by a stone from one of " Butcher " Cumberland's 
men. Whether this is true is rather doubtful, as it is hardly likely that it would have 
been removed to the new church in an injured state. 

Established Ch. 1. 

1 8 2 G 

Recast by T. Mears of London. said to be 2 cwt. 

In arch belfry at S. end. 

lo a.m., formerly also at 9 a.m., s. 1 1 a.m. 

One Sunday while the previous bell was cracked, the precentor handed the minister a 
paper requesting the prayers of the congregation on behalf of "Mary Bell in great distress." 
This the minister read out, believing that it referred to a sick parishioner. If the bell was 
called " Mary," as this seems to imply, it must almost certainly have been a Mediaeval, in 
which case it must also have been the bell that is said to have been broken in 1746. 

Chapel of S. Middanus. INGLISMALDIE. 

Site doubtful. 

? Chapel of S. John. BALMANNO. 


Sites doubtful. 

Episcopal Church. ROSEHILL. 


Church desecrated. 

^6 liKI.l.S OK KIXCARDIXKSlllKi;. 

United Presbyterian Ch. LUTHERMUIR. 1. 


A diminutive bell without interest. 

'i'he only U.P. bell in the county. 

Free Ch. 1. 



No canons : lettering very irregular. 

Thornton Castle. 1. 


Denison headed. 2 cwt. 3 lbs. 

In bell-cot on stables, used as clock bell. Was put here by .\le\. Croinbie, Esq., when 
^he'rebuilt the stables. 

NEUDOS. S. Drostane. i. 

Parish now included in FETTERCAIRN and in EUZELL. 


Hardly anything left except the churchyard. 

NIGG. S. Fiachra. i. 



I! II 17^" 

II II Ornamental Ijoider 

ij J5 same inverted 

J Scrap of lower Irorder 
+ same inverted 

Numerous blunders and irregularities. Read " fecit " and " usum " for " fe it " and 
■" u um." 

Church in ruins. 

In bird-cage belfry over E. end. Disused. 

Chapel of S. Fotinus. TORRY. 


Site doubtful. 

Established Ch. 1 


In tower at N. end. 
1 1 a.m., s. 12, s. 6 p.m. 


Chapel within H.M. Prison. CRAIGINCHES. I. 

(til SOllllctl'OV J WARNER & SONS LONDON 1890 

In arch belfry. 

3 qrs. 
Episcopal Church of S. Mary the Virgin. COVE. 1. 

I qr. 2 lbs. 

on ivown 20 

oti sotllldho-V J . WARNER & SONS . LONDON . 1890. 

No canons. 

In iron frame over E. [\\'.] end, 

•' East Coast Mission." COVE. 1. 


2 qrs. 
No canons. Cast by J. Blaikie & Sons of Aberdeen in 1887. 

Free Ch. TORRY. 1. 


Lettering irregular and in high relief 2qrs. 12 lbs. 

Given by Mr. Peter Johnstone, Fish Salesman. 
In turret at N.W. corner. 

ST CYRUS. S. Cyricus. .3. 






3 cwt. 2 ijrs. 12 lbs. 

Nos. I and 2 are clock bells, and were obtained by Bryson of Edinburgh, wlio 

suiiplied the clock. They are now disused. No. 3 was recast from the old bell, which was 

inscribed : — 

W & T Me.-\us L.vte Lester P.\ck & Chapman of London Fecekunt i:sa 

abt. 24J 
3 cwt. I qr. 14 lbs. 
The 3rd is rung at 10 a.m., s. 1 i a.m. ; [? formerly also rung at S a.m.] 
All hang in tower below spire at N. end. 

Chapel of S. Laurence-the-Archbishop. LAURISTON. 


Site only. 



Chapel of S. Regulus. 

Site only. 

? Chapel of S. 


Site only. 

Free Ch. 





No canons. Very much like the bell of Johnshaven Free Church, y.?'., p. 25. 
Lauriston Castle. 

OH it own iQ j 



Hangs in an arch in battlemented parapet at the top of a modern addition to the old 
tower in the courtyard. Approached by stone newel staircase. An old bell, rather smaller, 
used to stand disused in the stables till a few years ago, when it was taken away to Montrose 
and sold with some scrap iron. 

Ecclesgreig House. 


Long waist, foreign-looking soundbow, but shank head. 
Used formerly to hang in a tree. 




S. Mary. 


A very peculiar bell fully treated of at p. 14. The oldest in the county ; probably c. 1500. 

Was formerly in small belfry at \V. end of old church. When the new church was built 
in 1S66, the bell was hung in a large beech tree outside the S.\\'. corner of the old church- 
yard. It was used at funerals till it was taken out of the tree in 1895. It is now in the 
Session House adjoining the church, where it was put for preservation in 1896. 

Established Ch. 

NO INHCKirnuN (?) 

Inaccessible; cast by Bowen of Clerkenwell in 1890. 
In arch belfry at S. end. 
10.30 a.m., s. 1 1.30. 


I cwt. 12J lbs. 


Free Ch, 


A diminutive bell without interest. 


A specimen of a Seventeenth century English ornamental border' for com- 
parison with the Low Country work of the same date. 

' Us£cl liy the Bagleys of Northampton. The block was very kindly lent by Mr. A. H. Cocks of Gt. 
Marlow, Bucks. 



During' the middle ages in Scothuid, it seems to have been the exception and 
not the rule for the average countr>- church to have a tower. Notwithstanding this, 
however, the Mediaeval builders do not appear to have been contented \vith the 
mere single-arch bell-gable that sufficed for the smaller churches in iMigland, but 
gradually developed a more elaborate type of belfr\ almost i)ecLiliar to Scotland, a 
t>'pe, moreover, which survived the Reformation, and lived on long after all 
traces of artistic feeling had been eliminated from nearly every other class of 
ecclesiastical stonework. Although numbers have perished at the hands of 
niggardly heritors, many belfries of more or less interest still remain, several indeed 
having been carefully preserved from previcnis churches. The varied and beautiful 
forms which these little erections often assume even on buildings plain to 
ugliness and unworthy of notice, give am[)le reason for devoting some share of 
attention to them. 

The average Scotch Mediaeval belfry was something like a very small "saddle- 
back " tower, open at each end and parti)- closed at the sides. E.xamples of this 
kind are to be seen at Abdie in I'ifeshire, D)ce and .Auchindoir in Aberdeenshire and 
Corsraguel (for two bells) in Ayrshire, Occasionally they were like elaborate arch 
bell-gables, and sometimes they were miniature towers with pinnacles, &c. 

When the Rennaissance came, it did not alter the forms of the belfries, but 
merely clothed them in " classical " dress. This is clearly shown by such examples 
as Kinncff and Nigg. Of the later belfries, the best specimens are to 
be found near the east coast. Aberdeensliire is peculiarly rich in them — indeed 
those of In.sch, Leslie, and Pitsligo are reall\- most remarkable specimens of 
Rennaissance carving. We may attribute much of the excellence of the east 
belfries to Low Country influence, as many of them have a distinctly foreign 
appearance ; in fact it is said that the stones for Pitsligo were brought from 
Holland in 1636. That there was constant communication with Holland we 
know for a fact, and as all the best bells came from there, it is not unnatural to 
suppose that the belfries also received a share of foreign influence. 

The (ijreat majority of these belfries fall under the open stonework class that 
we ma\' perhaps be allowed to call the " bird-cage " type, in \iew of the following 
considerations. A characteristic feature of the churches in the Thames valley and 
its immediate neighbourhood is formed by the pepper-box erections on the tops of 
so many of the towers. These are open woodwork cages that were put up during 
the Rennai.ssance period for the reception of the clock bell — a very usual addition 
to the ordinary peal. They are of little interest in themselves, and are usually only 
remarkable for the magnificent vanes with which they are almost always surmounted, 
111 outline, however, they bear a .sort of general resemblance to the Scotch .stone 
belfries, cs])ecially when seen from a distance. As the author is under the impression 
that he has seen the term "bird-cage belfry" applied to them, he has in this present 
















work ventured to apply it to the belfries under consideration for want of a more 
suitable term. 

All the really good belfries seem to have been at one time surmounted by 
vanes, and indeed \vc may almost sa)- that w hen the vane went, the belfry followed ; 
for towards the end of the last century we see the vane and the artistic details 
vanishing together; and with the spurious "gothic" (?) revival of about seventy 
years ago, the belfr>' was sujjplanted b)- the wooden frame or the modern arch. 


The two circular turrets at Arbuthnott are the only Mediaeval belfries left in 
Kincardineshire, if we except the cill of one at the west end of the ruined church in 
Dunnottar Castle. This last .seems to have formed part of a small square belfr)- 
something like that at Dyce. The Arbuthnott turrets are unusual ; they are 
decidedl)' unecclesiastical, being in fact identical with the domestic work of the 
period. There is not the slightest attempt at ornamentation, and both are finished 
off with rough conical stone roofs, each terminating in a ball. Thej- were built by 
Sir Robert Arbuthnott in 1505, at the time when he built the Arbuthnott Chapel on 
the south side of the chancel. The belfry attached to the chapel is in the angle 
between the west wall of the chapel and the south wall of the church; the lower 
part of it contains the stone newel staircase leading to the chamber above the 
chapel, while the upper part probably held two bells. It is semi-octagonal 
as far as a large rounded stringcourse at the level of the chapel wall-plate, above 
which it is circular. The other turret is in the centre of the west end of the 
church and contains the bell. It takes the form of a .semi-hexagonal projection 
from the wall broken by a string about halfway up, below which is a small ogee- 
headed niche : just beneath the level of the roof-ridge it is corbelled out at the 
sides and becomes circular. Access to the bell is obtained by raising a ladder 
inside the church to a small square-headed doorway high above the floor, from 
which a few steps in the thickness of the wall lead into a chamber at the very top 
of the turret. 

Of the post-reformation belfries, the earliest is possibly that of Garvoc, which 
is said to have been preserved in 1778 from the previous church of a hundred 
years earlier. It is made of the black trap rock from the Hill of Garvoc, and is 
of peculiarly quaint design : the treatment of the pillars is very bold and effective. 
It is surmounted by a good weathercock, and is the best piece of work of the kind 
in Kincardineshire. 

The west wall of Kinneff seems to belong to a much earlier date than the rest 
of the church, which was largely rebuilt in 1734, and the belfry may date 
from about 1679, when the present bell was obtained, although it is more probably 
later. It is a small square tower built of rustic ashlar work, open at each end, but 
except for a sort of pigeon-hole to receive the bell-bearings, closed at the sides. 
Tlie roof is pyramidal and has good mouldings ; a vase-shaped finial takes 
the place of the usual ball. There are the remains of a vane at the top, and the 
whole is an excellent Renaissance version of the usual Mediaeval type. The moss- 
grown stones and the grass on the top make it an exceedingly picturesque object. 



The bcliVy on the ruined cliurch at Fettcresso is dated 1737, and is something 
between those of Nigg and Kinneff; it is chiefly noticeable for the small pseudo- 
gables at the top, from the middle of which rises a lon^' thin stone shaft seemingly 
intended to support a ball and vane. 

The next in point of date is that of Nigg, remarkable for being on the cast 
end of the church. On the die is the following inscription' : — 

[R] ♦ M 

I 704 

There is a very good pennon vane dated 1763, and a pretty double fleur-de-lj's 
north-point. The body of the belfry is of a kind by no means uncommon, and is 
probably of the same date as the vane. Other examples, almost identical, will be 
found at, Kincardine O'Neil, and Kettins. The treatment of the roof is par- 
ticularly happy ; the ornaments are evidently gothic pinnacles classici.sed. A like 
treatment, only more crudely carried out, may be found at Midmar (New Church) 
1788, and a very elaborate extension of the same idea ma\- be seen at Birse. 

In the old churchj'ard at Alaryculter are lying some stones which undoubtedly 
formed part of the belfry of the old church. Although rather mutilated, they show 
that it must have been very like the one at Nigg, only with a very prominent roll 
moulding at each angle. 

The old belfry at Bervie is perhaps the most elegant of any in the county. It 
consists of four .square fluted pillars with carved capitals supporting a tapering roof, 
which ends in a ball vvith the remains of a vane. It differs from all the rest in 
having no stone supports for the bell, which was hung on an iron frame. 

Dunnottar, dated 1782, .shows a well-proportioned example of the extremely 
plain kind : a very late example with small pinnacles has been preserved from the 
old Episcopal Church at Drumlithie. 

The remainder of the " bird-cage " belfries in the county are all more or 
deba.scd examples not worth mentioning at length ; they are at Marycultcr (1787), 
Durris (1822), Banchory Uevcnic (1822, with a good cock and arrow vane), Glen- 
bervie (1826), Benholm (1832), and Porthlethcn q.s. (1856). Marykirk and Strachan 
have modern arch belfries. F"ettcre.sso (1810), Banchory Ternan (1824), Fordoun 
(1829), Nigg Established Church (1829), Bervie (1837) have modern towers. 
Fettercairn (1830), St. Cyrus (1853), and Laurencekirk (1896) have small modern 
spires. Drumtochty and Stonehaven Episcopal Churches ha\-e good modern cam- 
paniles, and Drumlithie Episcopal Church has a double-arch belfry. 

The quaint old Town Steeple of Stonehaven must not be forgotten. It was 
built by subscription in 1 797, and consists of a square tower surmounted by a short 
octagonal wooden spire covered with copper. The tower is of the plainest kind, 
and the top is surmounted by a wooden railing. There is a good weathercock on 
the spire. 

' The letters stand fur " Master Richard Maitland," minister of Nigg from 1673 '" ■7I9- 


The town boll of Drumlitliie used formerly to hang in a tree, but a miniature 
steeple was built for it in 1 777. This was rebuilt in an enlarged form in 1868. It 
consists of a narrow cylindrical stone tower surmounted by a kind of small bird-cage 
belfry terminating in a thin spirelet, the whole being capped b)' an elaborate vane. 
Although the stonework is of the plainest possible order, and the total height not 
more than twenty feet, the effect is extremely quaint and picturesque. So far as is 
known to the writer, it is unique. 

Of bells in trees there have been four instances in Kincardineshire, viz : — at 
Fettercairn, Drumlithie, Eccle.sgreig House, and Strachan, all of which have been 
mentioned above.' This [)ractice of hanging bells in trees seems to have been by 
no means unusual in Scotland ; in times past there were other instances at St. 
Monance, Auldbar, ant! .N'avar, to mention only a few. 

' pp. 28, 32, 3S. 



The author believes the following places to be possessed of Mediaeval bells ; as his in- 
formation, however, is very defective, he mentions them here in the hope of eliciting further 
particulars regarding them. 

Manor, Pechles-shire, 1478. 

Dundonald, Renfrewshire, 1485. 

Linlithgow, Linlithgowshire. 1490- 

Broxburn, Linlithgowshire, I503- 

Turriff", Alierdcenshire, 1SS6. 

Auchterarder, Perthshire, ? 



/ Norfolk, 









Books have been published at various times giving full particulars of all the bells in each 
of the following counties : — 

Thos. North. 

A. H. Cocks. 

Rev. J. J. Raven, D.D. 

E. Dunkin, 

Rev. H. T. Ellacombe. 

Thos. North ; completed by J. C. L. Stahlschmidt. 
J. C. L. Stahlschmidt. 
Thos. North. 

H. L'Estrange. 

Thos. North. 

„ Rev. H. T. Ellacombe. 

,, Chas. Lynam. 

Rev. J. J. Raven, D.D. 
„ J. C. L. Stahlschmidt. 

„ W. D. Amherst Tyssen. 

It is believed that the following will soon be forthcoming : — 

Essex. Nearly completed by the late J. C. L. Stahlschmidt; said to be now in the 

Derbyshire. Begun by the late Llewellyn Jowett; now being completed by W. H. 
St. John Hope (?) 

Middlesex. Investigation just begun. 
Northumberland. Said to be under investigation. 
Shropshire. „ „ 

Wiltshire. „ „ 















1^ '^S 


^ q' 


a ^; 

1 r^i 

■^ v. 







In the bell depicted on the opposite page the following points should be carefully noted : 

The angular projections forming the uppermost piece of the bell, by which it is hung, 
are called the canons (Lat. ansa). 

The top of the bell, from which the canons project, is called the Crown, 

The convex part between the crown and the inscription is called the Shoulder (Lat. 
cerebrum vel caput) ; this is the thinnest part of the bell. 

The convex part at the base of the bell is called the Soundbow ; this is the thickest 
part, and the clapper ought always to strike upon it. 

'J"he edge of the bell at the mouth is called the Lip (Lat. lalnuin). 

The middle part of the bell between the soundbow and the shoulder is called the Waist. 

In this case the inscription is carried round the bell just below the shoulder ; this is the 
usual place for it, and it is between two sets of Beads, Wires, or Lines. 

When the of a bell is mentioned, it is not a translation of the Latin caput, which 
means the shoulder, but it indicates the part of the bell by which it is hung, be it canons, 
shank, '' Denison-head " (a species of canons), or merely the middle of the crown. 

The wooden block to which the bell is hung is called the Stock. At the ends of the 
stock on its under side are fastened very strong steel pins or axles known as the Gudgeons. 
These receive the whole weight of the bell, and work in gun-metal bearings which are let into 
cast-iron pedestals bolted to the frame, and are covered with caps to keep out the dust. The 
lubricant ought to be the best lard, which has to be softened with a little oil in frosty weather. 

The upright piece of wood at the left hand side of the stock is called the St.w. It is 
used when the bell is "up" to keep it from falling over, by coming in contact with the 
Slider. This is the wooden bar which can be seen in the illustrations working on a pivot 
fixed to one side of the frame below the bell. The end of the slider is free to slide — hence 
the name — along the frame on the other side for such a distance as may allow the stay to 
rest against it on whichever side the bell is turned. 

The reader should notice the peculiar form of the wheel and the arrangement of the 
rope, as all large bell-wheels are exactly alike in form. Each part of the wheel has its name, 
but as wheels are so little used in Scotland, it would be needless to say more about them. 

English bells have been hung like this, with but slight variation, for the last two hundred 
years, and the same method is still followed in the majority of cases. It is true that modifica- 
tions have been introduced of laie years, such as iron frames and iron stocks, as shown in the 
picture of the Aberavon peal, but they are by no means universally used. 


The following extracts relating chiefly to the St. Cyrus bells are from some papers which 
the writer was enabled to examine through the kindness of the Rev. Robert Davidson, the 
Minister of the Parish. It is hoped that they will be found of sufficient interest to justify 
their insertion here. 


i8th August, 1846." 
"Dear Sir, 

When I received your note last week I was not aware of anything to prevent 
my attending the meeting on the 29th, but I now find that I shall be otherwise unavoidably 
engaged on that day, and I shall therefore give you all the information I have about Bells. 


The first which came in my way was that of Marykirk, and when it was broken, Mr. 
Napier, a native of the parish and a merchant in London, happened to be in the county and 
took charge of procuring a new one from Mears, the celebrated Bell-founder of Whitechapel. 
The next was that of Laurencekirk, which was managed in the same way, Mr. Napier having 
also taken the trouble of getting it at my request. When a large new bell was to be got for 
Fordoun I recommended it to be ordered from the same Bell-founder in London. The late 
Dr. Crombie of Thornton, who was then the principal Heritor of the Parish took the trouble 
of selecting it when in London, and was at some ])ains to choose one of a good tone. 

The Vouchers of the expense have been out of my hands a long time, and I can only 
give you an idea of it from imperfect recollection. 

The bells for ^L^rykirk and Laurencekirk were each something above i cwt., and they 
cost somewhere about i 6 I* lib., but were at different prices probably owing to the price of 
metals being different at the respective periods. The value given for the old bells was also 
different, and was about 7d. or 8d. t* lib. 

The Fordoun bell was between 5 and 6 cwt., and cost I think about 18 or 1/9 ¥ lib., so 
far as I can recollect. The old bell was sold for another Church. The probable cost of a new 
bell for St. Cyrus may therefore be estimated at about i - P lib. if of the same weight as the old 
bell after allowing for the old metal. The stock, wheel, and iron work are charged separately. 

As Mr. Lyall of Lauriston is so frequently in London perhaps he may be so kind as to 
take the trouble of getting the new bell, and if he should not have a musical ear like Dr. 
Crombie, who told me he spent nearly a day ringing a great number of bells in Mears' 
Foundry in order to select one to strike a proper note, Mr. Lyall could possibly get someone 
in London to assist him. 

I enclose Mears' Shop Bill of 1835, the only evident I can now find on the subject, but 
I see from my accounts I remitted him £58 1/8 for the F'ordoun bell." 

" Yours truly, 

"The Rev. J. S. Murray." 

The following will show that the present liell of St. Cyrus is much smaller than was 
originally intended :— 

January 14th, 1847," 


Mr. Lyall has called this day respecting the bell for St. Cyrus, and has chosen one 
of 7 to 8 cwts. — on our recommendation — he requested us to inform you that he had decided 
on the bell, and also that he wished you to forward the old one to us by the first vessel. 

If any name is to be put on the bell he wished us to request you to send it up as soon 
as possible." 

" We are, Sir, 
"Mr. J. A. Murray." Yours very truly, 


.As an account is in existence headed "Expense of recasting and erecting Parish Church 
Bell of St. Cyrus, &c.," the aiiove letter merely indicates that .Mr. Lyall chose the size and not 
the actual bell. 

It may be assumed that the disused clock bells were obtained by Bryson of Edinburgh, 
who supplied the clock, as the following is the only reference to anything of the kind that 
can be found : — 



" Mr. jAMKs Murray, "Bridge of Aixan, 

&c., &c., St. Cyrus by Montrose." By .Stirling, l6lh Angust, 1847.' 

" Dear Sir, 

The clock originally ordered from Messrs. Bryson 

was declared by them to be a first rate one, and appropriate for the purpose and situation — 
if therefore Miss Watson's Trustees want something />e//er tlian good to strike the quarters, 
&c., &c., it will be simply absurd — since very few will be the better for such needless outlay." 

"R. LVALL." 

Bkli. Foundry, WHiTECHArF.i,, 
LONDO.s, April 20, 1848. 
J. .■\. Murray, Esq. 

To CH.\S. & GEO. MEARS. 

Feb. 12. Charges paid on Old Bell, ... ... ... ... /"o a fi 

1848. ■ 

Mar. 23. .\ Bell 3 cwt. 2 qr. 12 lb. at 7s. 1* cwt., ... ... ... 25 c o 

Clapper, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 100 

Stock, Gudgeons, Ironwork and Brasses, ... ... ... 212 6 

Wharfage, ... ... ... ... ... ... 026 

cwt. qr. lb. 
By Old Bell, 3 i 14 

Deduct Iron Staple and dirt, 004 

-^29 4 6 

Cwt. 3 I 10 f"^ ^4 4s. ■? cwt., ... ... 14 o 6 

^15 4 o 

58 lb. of iron to the St. Cyrus Church Bell, ... ... ... ... o 19 6 

Repairs on the rest of the iron, I ... ... ... ... ... 100 

8 lb. of Old Bell Mettel at 6d., ... ... ... ... ... 040 

Bell Acct. Blacksmith Work [signed] DAVID MILNE. 
(The " Bell Mettel " probably refers to the broken canons of the old bell.) 

^o 16 o 

Mr. James Murray, pro. the Parish of St. Cyrus. Links Fou.ndry, Mo.ntrose. 


May 19. To a Cast iron Wheel for Parish Bell, i cwt. C14 Rt., ... ... _;^o 17 6 

,, ,, a pattern for Wheel, Wood and Work, ... ... ... 0120 

„ „ Man's time at St. Cyrus assisting to fit up wheel, ... ... 030 

„ ,, 4 Bolts for fastening Wheel together, ... ... ... ooS 

May 19. By Old Wheel, weighing 1 cwt. i qr. cz] Rt., ... ... ... o 

£.\ 10 




The following notes on the history of the chief Irish and English foundries which have 
sent bells to Scotland may he found of interest as showing to some extent the position of 
bell-founding at the present day. For a great part of them the author is indebted to several 
of the English books, especially those of North and Stahlschmidt. Mention has been made 
of some of the most noticeable specimens of modern bell-founding, and the writer has 
attem|)ted to give representative examples from each part of Scotland. For obvious reasons, 
any criticism of their respective merits is out of the question, and an alphabetical arrangement 
lias been followed as far as possible, seeing that all the foundries mentioned are still in ex- 


So far as is known to the writer, the ancient founders, such as Tobias Covey for example, 
are unrepresented in Scotland, and the only Irish foundry that need be mentioned seems to 
be the comparatively modern one of John Murphy of Dublin, which was started in 1816, and 
has done a great amount of work for Ireland. It is represented in Scotland by the bells of 
Crieff Free Church (12 cwt., 1882); St. John's (R.C.), Fauldhouse (1882); Prestonkirk 
(13 cwt., 1884); Maybole Town Hall (20 cwt., 1895); Falkirk Free Church (16 cwt., 1895), 
and by several others. This foundry has turned out some very large bells, among them those 
ofMullingar; S.Patrick's (R.C.), Dungannon (2 tons, 1889); S. Patrick's (R.C.), VVicklow 
(2 tons, 1890), and also several very heavy peals, as at Clogher ; Belfast (10; tenor, 3 tons, 
66 in., 1885), &c. These Irish bells form the opposite extreme from those of tiie Low 
Countries, being perhaps the heaviest in proportion to their size of any modern bells. 

E N G L A N I). 
A peal of 10 at the Orphan Homes of Scotland, Tibbingshill, and single bells at 
Broughton and Clenrinnes are by Llewellins & James, general founders and engineers, who 
have taken to bell-founding recently. 


10 (tenor, 14 cwt.) "dead" bells at Kirkcaldy (1880), 5 at Paisley Town Hall (1882), 6 
at Creenock Free Middle Church, 11 at Largs, 6 nt Logie (1896), and many single bells are 
by Gillett & Johnston of Croydon, an old iirni of clockmakers, who have only been casting 
bells since 1877. 

London : S/>italJie!Js. 

11 at Inverness Catliedral, 6 at Renton, and a few more, are by John Warner i\: Sons 
of Spitalfields. We first hear of this firm in 1740 when Jacob Warner, a Quaker, was ordered 
by the Founders Company to cease foundry work, on the ground that he was only free of 
the Tin-plate Workers. His son, John Warner, was in business as a bell and brass founder 
in 1763 at a house known as the 3 bells and a star, in Wood Street, Cheapside, where he was 
joined by Tomson Warner, his brother. Afterwards they moved to Fore Street, Cripplegate, 
and dissolved partnership in 1782. Tomson remained in Fore Street, while John went to 
Fleet Street in 1784, where as "John Warner & Sons" he cast hells, sometimes putting his 
own name on them and sonictuiies that of the firm. It was from Tomson Warner that the 
business descended to the present firm of John Warner & Sons. Prior to 1850 they only 
cast bells in sand, and less than 18 in., in diameter. Until a few years ago their foundry as 

Peal of 8 bells (tenor \6 cwt.) for Aberavon Church, Glamorganshire.' 

This is an example of an ordinary English peal constructed for change-ringing 

and shows some of the bells " up," ready for ringing. Fn this case the frame and 

stocks are of iron and the bells are without canons. 

' By Messrs. J. Taylor & Co., of Loughborough, who kindly lent the block— which is from a photograph 
taken in their foundry. 


well as their offices was at Jewin Crescent, Cripyilcgate — hence their foundry mark — hut it has- 
lately been removed to Spelman Street, Spitalfields. " Big Hen " was first cast by Warners. 

London : Whitechapel. 

About 1570 one Robert Mot, whose father John Mott of Canterbury was busy in 1553 
buying up old metal from churches, started a foundry on the north side of High Street^ 
Whitechapel, on the site of Tewkesbury Court. Bell-founding was then just recovering from 
the Reformation, and Mot had abundance of work. In 1606 he sold the foundry to Joseph 
Carter, one of a Reading line of founclers. Mot died in 1608. Carter, who died two years 
later, had meanwhile sent his son to London, leaving his interest in the Reading foundry to 
William Yare. William Carter the son died in 1O19, and was replaced by Thomas Bartlet, 
who carried on the London business till 1647 when it jjassed to Anthony Bartlet, who in turn 
was succeeded by James Bartlet in 1676. The two last cast most of the bells for the London 
churches after the Creat Fire. James Bartlet was followed in 1701 by Richard Phelps, who 
cast the five-ton clock bell of S. Paur.s. He was succeeded by his foreman, Thomas Lester, 
who, following his predecessor's example, also took his foreman into partnership in the person 
of one Thomas Pack. This was in 1752. Lester built the present foundry on the south 
side of High Street, ^Vhitechapel, a few yards east of the Parish Church of S. Mary Matfelon. 
He died in 1769 having provided in his will that Pack should receive his nephew \\'illiam 
Chapman as a partner. He cast "Great Dunstan " at Canterbury Cathedral (3i tons), and 
the peal of 12 at S. Mary-le-bow, Cheapside — the famous " Bow Bells "—(tenor, 53 cwt.), alt 
in 1762. The bells in hand at Lester's death were inscribed "Lester. Pack & Chapman." 
Pack & Chapman cast among many others the peal of i 2 at Wakefield Cathedral, and the 1 1 
cwt. tenor at Brechin Cathedral. Pack died in 1781, and Chapman, who survived him 
three years, admitted as his jjartner \\'illiam Mears. There are a very few bells cast by 
Chapman alone, and among them is the ist of Stirling. In 1787 Thomas Mears became 
associated with \Villiam in the firm which was then designated " W. & T. Mears, late Lester, 
Pack & Chapman." William Mears having retired in 1 789, Thomas Mears was alone till 
1804, when he assumed as partner his son Thomas Mears the younger, whom we also find 
alone from 1810 till 1844. Thomas Mears (the younger) cast "Great Tom" of Lincoln 
(5^ tons) m 1835, and was succeeded by Charles and George Mears, who cast "Great Peter" 
of York (loj tons) in 1845, the Bourdon bell of Montreal (iii tons) in 1847, and recast 
"Big Ben" (13^, tons) in 1858. In 1S59 the designation of the firm was altered to G. Mears 
& Co., a tide which was retained till the introduction of Robert Stainbank in 1865. This 
necessitated a further .ind final change to Mears & Stainbank, under which style the firm 
still reinains. 

Mears & Stainbank are also the successors of the equally famous foundry of the 
Rudhalls of Glouce.ster ; the smaller foundries of Briant of Hertford, Dobson of Downham, 
Moore, Holmes & Mackenzie of Redenhall have also been absorbed in that of Whitechapel. 

The following bells in Scotland, among many others, are from this foundry :— the peals 
of 8 at St. Andrew's, Edinburgh (tenor, 15 cwt.), 1788 ; 8 at St. Paul's, Dundee (tenor, 23 cwt.), 
1872 ; 8 at Dundee Old Steeple (tenor, 20 cwt.), 1873 ; 8 at Lochee (tenor, 8 cwt.), 1872 ; 6 
at IXinkeld (tenor, 7 cwt.), 1813; 3 at .St. Andrews, 1807-9; and the single bells at Kilmar- 
nock (12 cwt.), 1853; Kirkcudbright (12 cwt.), 1838; Hamilton (i!3 cwt.), 1848 : Johnston 
(16 cwt.), 1847; Renfrew (23 cwt.), 1885; Paisley (22 cwt.), 1866; Leith (20 cwt.), 1S43; 
South Leith (23 cwt.), 1894; Peterhead (10 cwt.), 1850 ; Inverness (9 cwt.). 1851 ; Brechin 
E. Free Church (^20 cwt.), 1892 ; Auchterless (22 cwt.), 1895. 



Next to the Whitecliapel Foundry that of Messrs. John Taylor & Sons, Loughborough, 
has sent more bells to Scotland than any other English foundry. We first hear of it 
in 1 7 17 when some clockmakers named Thomas and John Eayre started a foundry at 
Kettering, which was closed about 1761. Thomas' brother Joseph Eayre went to St. Neois, 
where he began to cast bells about 17.^3. .After his death this foundry w.ts held by Thomas 
Osborn, his foreman and Edward Arnold, who soon, however, dissolved partnership (c. 1770), 
Arnold remaining at St. Neots, while Osborn set up at Downham Market. About 1801 he 
took William Dobson his {grandson into partiiershi[), who held the foundry alone from 1806 
till in 1833 it was bought up by Mcars of VVhitechapei. 

In 1781 Edward Arnold started a foundry at Leicester, keeping up that at St. Neots as 
■well, in which he received as apprentice Robert Taylor, who succeeded him there, when the 
foundry was carried on in a large brick building in the Priory, built in the form of a bell. 
Taylor with his sons William and John moved to O.xford in 1821. In 1825, John went to 
Buckland Brewer near Bideford, where he built a foundry, returning, however, to Oxford in 
1833. In 1840 he left Oxford for Loughborough, where his son and grandsons are still 
carrying on the business. 

They cast "Great Paul" (16 tons odd); 21 at Manchester Town Hall (tenor, 8 tons 
odd) ; 16 at Worcester Cathedral (tenor, 90 cwt.) ; 10 at Newcasde Cathedral ; the clock bell 
{46 cwt.) at Londonderry Guildhall. 

Their work in Scotland includes the 57 cwt. hour bell at Glasgow University, the biggest 
bell in Scotland, and the 10 (tenor, 42 cwt.) of S. Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, the biggest 
peal. .\lso 9 at St. Mary's Cathedral, Aberdeen (tenor, 30 cwt.) ; 8 at Port of Menteith 
(tenor, 17 cwt.); 8 at Coats' U.P. Church, Paisley (tenor, 24 cwt.); and the bells of St. 
Margaret's, Bognie (11 cwt.); Boness (23 cwt.); and Castle Douglas (15 cwt). 


" Charles Carr " of the Woodlands Brass Foundry, Smethwick, which dates from 1864, 
cast the 31 cwt. clock bell of Marischal College, Aberdeen in 1895, also bells at Druimbeg 
and Stromness, and recast a 2| cwt. bell at Coupar Angus. The foundry of Blews of 
Birmingham was merged in this firm some years ago. 

" Steel bells " by Vickers, Sons. & Co., formerly Naylor, Vickers & Co. of the river Don 
Works, Sheffield are at Trinity. Glasgow (6 ; tenor, 1 2 cwt., 45 ") ; Grange Free Church, 
Kilmarnock (54") ; St. Giles, Edinburgh (8; tenor, 13J cwt., 50"); Ecclefechan (3; tenor, 
5^ cwt., 34") ; Rutherglen Town Hall (48") ; Coatbridge Free Middle (48"). This firm has 
cast a great number of the '• Steel bells " within the last half century including a 90" bell for 
S. Peter's (R.C.), Hatton Garden, London, and several peals, among them St. Clement's, 
Hastings (8; tenor, 52", 17I cwt.), and Hurst, near Ashton-underl.yne (8 ; tenor, 19J cwt., 

"Tubular Bells," by Harrington, Latham & Co, Coventry are at Scone, 1894, and (a 
single tube) at S. Margaret's (R.C.), .\yr, 1889. 


Los Angeles 
This book is DUE on die last date stamped below. 

MAR 1 8 K 

Form L9-100m-9,'52(A3103)444 






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